Trying to fall in love with film again.

Why did I watch 'After'?


After | Own & Watch After | Universal PicturesStory 

Based on the best-selling book of the same name, Tessa Young is a college freshman with a strict mother and a loving boyfriend. However, she gets involved with bad boy Hardin Scott and everything changes.

Okay, you cannot talk about this movie without addressing the fact that it's based on fan-fiction (that I read back in my One Direction fangirl days. Yes I had a One Direction phase) much like another popular film series. Not to say that fan-fiction is bad but this one? It's not great. The big glaring issue with this story is that it's boring and cliche. I have seen this kind of movie way too many times to count and this one plays out exactly like you think it would, meaning you'll pretty much guess exactly what is going to happen. And you'd be 100% right.

Acting

*insert heavy sigh* The acting is... interesting to say the least.  There isn't any tangible chemistry between the lead actors (or any actors for that matter) which compromises the movie as a whole. The story makes a point to hammer home the fact that Tessa and Hardin wouldn't interact in most circumstances, however, it feels like the actors wouldn't either. Whenever they're on screen, it feels as though they were just smushed together. A lot of the scenes are awkward to watch and cringy which in turn makes it funny.

The cast is made of mostly unknown actors and I've grown out of the habit of judging actors based on one movie cause if I did... This doesn't look very good. My one gripe about the acting in this movie is the way lines are delivered. They come across as forced and awkward, especially from Hero Fiennes-Tiffin who plays Hardin. Hardin is British and so is Hero but he comes across as an American who is trying REALLY hard to be British (a paradox in and of itself, but here we are). His performance is incredibly stiff and he makes an unlikeable character really unlikeable.

Josephine Langford plays Tessa and her performance is one of the best in the film (not really saying much though). She is both the emotional anchor and audience surrogate and she does a pretty decent job of it. Much like all the other characters, her lines come across as cliche and awkward but that has a lot more to do with the writing rather than her delivery even though some of that falls on her. Tessa isn't very likeable, in fact, none of the characters in this movie are likeable or relatable, even if they are written that way.

Writing/Direction

*insert additional heavy sigh* Okay, this is where this movie struggles the most. As mentioned earlier, the story is based on fanfiction (that I read but never finished) and I'm not dissing fanfiction, however, the story in this film is an inherently cliche and incredibly toxic one. Good girl meets bad boy and then changes him with her goodness and virtue. This narrative rarely every plays out this way. Now I understand that movies aren't meant to be realistic but seeing Hardin rely on Tessa's naivety is irritating. One thing I will commend the writers for doing is changing some of of the incredibly problematic story points (Anna Todd, the author might have changed them when the story was published, I don't know) cause there were some character motivation in the original story that has earned some serious side-eye.

Earlier I said that I don't really blame the actors for their lines or their unlikeable characters. I blame the writers. Everyone and everything in this movie is soooooo bland. I don't care about anyone and their tragic backstories no matter how "touching" but I really didn't expect to.

CGI/Set Design

Usually, I have something to say about Set Design but there is truly nothing interesting to say here. The movie doesn't stand out visually in any way, shape or form (but I wasn't really expecting it to). It looks like every single teen movie you've seen. (plays out like every teen movie you've seen too)

Score/Soundtrack 

A lot of movies are either soundtrack driven or score driven and this falls into the former category. The thing is, this movie has too much music and is too soundtrack driven. (I didn't know that was a thing until I watched this movie) Almost every scene ends with a song and while I can appreciate a song to set the tone, but when it happens frequently, it starts to get really annoying. It felt as though I was watching someone's Spotify playlist that just happened to have some scenes attached to it. That doesn't the soundtrack is bad, but that doesn't mean it's great either.

I'm also annoyed that the movie wasted 'Out of Love' by Alessia Cara. That song is beautiful and it was used in the wrong scene. This is more of a nitpick than anything else but I literally said out loud 'This song is in the wrong place" and if you watch the movie (do it at your own discretion) you'll know what I mean. To the music directors, y'all really did my good sis Alessia dirty with this and I will never forgive you for it.

Overall Thoughts

After is...... not good. I knew that going in so I wasn't surprised in that regard. The one thing I didn't expect was to be bored. I was initially very excited to watch it cause I knew it was going to get roasted but in all honesty? I didn't/ don't care about the cliche story, the bland characters, boring direction and jarring soundtrack. Don't get it twisted I will watch the next one and roast that one too. But in all seriousness don't waste your time watching this like I did. (These blog posts are fun to write though I can't lie)

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