Angsty teenage dramas really aren’t my thing, but still, I seem to watch quite a few of them. This After (2019) film is one such title, and for the good it has, it’s also a little bit “out there.”
After (2019) Film Review
Being a good girl has all been a lead in for getting into college. Tessa Young (Josephine Langford) lives and breathes this life. She has a kind, good guy boyfriend, Noah, and her mother couldn’t be prouder to see her daughter start her freshman year of college. Her orderly life is disrupted by meeting Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin).
Damaged, reckless and a little bit dangerous, Tessa cannot help but feel drawn to the enigmatic Hardin. Though he’s not right for her, Tessa finally starts to feel something for him, only to put into motion a game of back and forth between them, and the question of what comes after such an unexpected encounter…
Before seeing this one (on a constant loop!) on my Netflix home page, I’d read about it before its theater debut without caring overmuch. The film is actually a bit different than the impression I had, but in other ways, it’s precisely what I assumed. Based on the fan fiction novel by Anna Todd, the novel received lots of criticism for its relationship depiction. From what I father, in the novel, it’s very emotionally abusive. I have not nor do I intend to read it, so I’m going off of what I read.
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Based on this, the film seems to be tamer. I can only think of one prominent instance where I feel as though Hardin is “playing” with Tessa, which is always ineffective in drawing the audience towards a character. That said, from what I read this script improves significantly on the plot and even, despite its adult situations, cleans up the plot.
The film has a decent cast, and Langford plays a very convincing Tessa, or at least a convincing characterization of this sort of character. She gives her the right balance of innocent confusion, though to be honest, it’s disappointing she’s not more honest and willing to stand up for herself. I also wish we could see more of her friendship with Landon (I could even like them together!). Tiffin makes Hardin a brooding character who sometimes makes us trust him and see him romantically, and other times brush him off as a bad dude.
With a sequel already out, and others in the pre-production phase, it’s safe to assume we’ll see more of Tessa and Hardin. Whether or not their story will end happily is a mystery, but if it does, I’m going to need to see more change from Hardin than this first After film depicts.
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You can find After (2019) film digitally on Amazon Video or (at publication) on Netflix
Angst and a Broken Heart Challenge ‘After’ Adaptation. A review of the 2019 YA [but adult] adaptation by Anna Todd. #Adaptation #Movies #Netflix Click To Tweet
Content: This one is only PG-13, but it barely passes because of the of the implies and actual sex scenes. Early on, Hardin touches Tessa (consensual) across the stomach and when she reacts, he questions her. [She also dreams of him touching her.] Later, they fool around in bed; we see him working his way down her body (telling her she should never cover up for him). Later still, they have sex (references are made to her being a virgin); the camera shows the early awkward moments between them before it cuts to them naked, covered in bubbles in a bathtub. A same sex couple falls into bed together, all while a roommate is in bed. There’s other thematic elements, and some typical profanity.