Hollywood likes to make films off novels. When it works, especially when the adaptation is based on a series, makers usually go ahead with sequels. Twilight, Hunger Games, The Divergent series... we have many recent examples. Considering After is based on the first novel of a series of three books, making a franchise would have been the larger plan. But sadly though, this first film is entirely lost in translation.
The novel itself is a fan-fiction about One Direction band member, Harry Styles. Hardin Scott (played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin) wears the bad boy attitude like armour to protect his fragile, hurt, heart. He doesn’t believe in the concept of true love. As expected, on the other hand, we have Tessa Young (Josephine Langford), a naive suburban girl whose family values are as strict as that of a traditional Indian family.
The film is meant to be a coming-of-age story of Tessa — someone who steps out of her little circle of comfort into the big, bad world, while managing a long distance relationship with her still-in-high-school boyfriend, Noah (Dylan Arnold). She also has to deal with the shock of a lesbian roommate (Khadijha Red Thunder). What we end up with is with a storyline that reminds you of the Fifty Shades series, if you replaced the BDSM aspects with much foreplay. The romance between them is cliche and armed with cheesy lines. The couple bond over books like The Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights, and Pride and Prejudice.
Jenny Gage’s screenplay is uneven and extremely slow, and hence, scenes that are meant to delve into how romance blossoms between them only serve to test our patience. The scene where Hardin explains his troubled childhood does little to affect us, and the love-making scene right after isn’t greatly executed either.
Some googling reveals that the third book in the series is titled After We Fell. Well, given how hard this film, After, falls, it’s probably not the worst thing that it will kill, along with it, any plans of this becoming a franchise.
Directors: Jenny Gage