New from Tarek Fayoumi on Movies with Tarek: Aftersun Review

Aftersun is a film in which people look at their lives both past and present. Aftersun is filled with melancholy moments, but they display endearment. This may not be a feel-good movie. However, it is breathtaking in terms of its narrative.  Aftersun’s positive light is the struggle which involves mixed feelings between a father and a daughter.

The film focuses on a father, Calum, and his daughter Sophie. Calum is played by Paul Mescal and Sophie is played by Frankie Corio. They are on a vacation together and experience frustrations with each other and with themselves. They have their good days, but also bad days when their fun plans fall apart. Aftersun is about the struggle of accepting the hard life that Calum and Sophie lead. Calum has a rough past, and so does Sophie. Her father does the best he can to be a good father, although it is hard for Sophie to see that in him. It is also difficult for her to accept that he oversees her.

Aftersun is a film that feels experimental because it closely follows the dynamics of Calum and Sophie’s relationship. Their vacation is filled with tension and the intriguing narrative connects effectively with the film’s cinematography. Aftersun portrays true feelings of disconnect in a surreal tone of dramatic filmmaking. The conflicted relationship between Calum and Sophie is unique. It shows that they have hatred, but deeply want to feel connected with each other. In Mescal’s role as Calum, he displays a generous amount of love as a father. In Corio’s role as Sophie, she displays belligerent behavior as a daughter. Aftersun’s story of attempted reconciliation is deep with irreparable consequences.  The emotions between Calum and Sophie are purely sad, but purely engrossing.

With the complicated frustrations and tension between Calum and Sophie, Aftersun flows like a depressing story. However, it is about Calum and Sophie figuring out how to get on the same page to maintain their relationship. The story is about how they come to terms of acceptance, despite their dark past. Calum’s challenging childhood drags her into his suffering. Aftersun is ultimately about forgiveness and second chances despite the struggles between them.

Aftersun is hard to feel positive about. I did appreciate the movie for its realist portrayal of a difficult subject. I found reflecting upon how relationships tend to hurt so much with the ones we love most. The film’s direction and style of filmmaking is faithful to life and society. Three stars for Aftersun.

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