Aftersun

At a fading vacation resort, 11-year-old Sophie treasures rare time together with her loving and idealistic father, Calum. As a world of adolescence creeps into view, beyond her eye Calum struggles under the weight of life outside of fatherhood. Twenty years later, Sophie's tender recollections of their last holiday become a powerful and heartrending portrait of their relationship, as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn't.

  • Released: 2022-10-21
  • Runtime: 101 minutes
  • Genre: Drama
  • Stars: Frankie Corio, Paul Mescal, Celia Rowlson-Hall, Sally Messham, Ayse Parlak, Sophia Lamanova, Brooklyn Toulson, Spike Fearn, Harry Perdios, Frank Corio, Ruby Thompson, Ethan James Smith, Onur Ekşioğlu, Cafer Karahan, Kayleigh Coleman, John Stuifzand, Tyler Mutlu, Kieran Burton, Nijat Gachayev, Sarah Makharine, Erol Cengizalp
  • Director: Charlotte Wells
 Comments
  • brentsbulletinboard - 13 January 2023
    Too Many Gaps To Fill In
    It's one thing for a movie to be subtle and nuanced, but it's something else entirely to be enigmatic and cryptic. And, regrettably, the debut feature from writer-director Charlotte Wells delivers more of the latter than the former. This melancholic character study tells the story of a woman (Celia Rowlson-Hall) who looks back 20 years to a vacation that her perky 11-year-old self (Frankie Corio) took with her young and loving but quietly troubled father (Paul Mescal). In doing so, it explores the subjects of memory, parent-child relationships, mental and emotional well-being, and the various senses of loss we all experience over time, topics that the protagonist's youthful counterpart may not have fully understood at the time but that her adult self now does. I wish I could say the same for myself, though; I often felt that I was being tasked to construct a narrative for the picture myself, based, essentially, on merely what was being shown to me, material that frequently comes across as underdeveloped and open to an array of interpretation in terms of both story line and character development. To put it simply, I didn't feel I was given enough substance to work with to accomplish that task, and it often left me feeling wanting, abandoned by the filmmaker, and, ultimately, uninterested. And, to complicate matters further, the film's poor sound quality regularly obscures the characters' dialogue behind their thick Scottish accents, and its often-dark, overly muddled cinematography made some images difficult to decipher at times. What's more, this offering's camera work - aimed at simulating glorified home movies, a fitting approach for telling this story - is packed with innocuous material. Indeed, who really cares about sitting through endless footage of the characters engaging in mundane activities like playing video games, eating ice cream and attempting to sing karaoke? The "looking back in fondness" factor in these supposedly touching segments is a little too inane to engender truly heart-tugging feelings, constituting cinematic padding more than anything integral or meaningful to the overall story. Considering all of the advance glowing reactions I had read about this release, I was really looking forward to it going in. Unfortunately, though, I came away from it almost as sad and disappointed as the protagonist herself.
  • dimitrijemilosevic - 12 January 2023
    Melancholic nostalgia
    Aftersun is...different experience. One of those movies that is not as interesting as the emotion it invokes in you. It can be discussed for hours and hours. I see people write longer reviews than the script. I get it. I liked it. Some scenes really got to me. Especially the ending. But at the end of the day, i don't really know how many people, me included, would ever rewatch this? Not because it's one of those movies that is so sad and draining that you can't stand to see it again, but more because the experience itself is not engaging enough to fully justify the way it makes you feel after the credits roll. In this case, parallel reflection with our own lives is what gets us to tears more than drama on the screen. But hey, that is a fine accomplishment on its own as well.

    Anyways, 2 leads are good. I really liked Charlotte Wells' direction for the most part and all of her subtle touches across the movie. I would definitely like to see what she does next.

    It's a bit too A24-ish for my taste, but i appreciate it nonetheless.
  • pepekbb - 12 January 2023
    Keyword: Subtle
    It is not a film, is a therapy session. It doesn't develop the character (shopie) as an adult and the traumas or consequences of child and father relationship. You may think that is what lacking in the movie after you see it, but actually is so subtle that makes you think about yourself and the development process of character is on you, yes you, the final character delvelopment is yourself, spectator. On the end you will start to think about your own relationship with your father during childhood and how it was by the time, when you just couldn't see completely how things really were, but feel it just in part. The subtle plot doesn't make you miss it when directing takes the lead on this film, it could be a mute movie and you'd still feel it just by the directing work. And always remember that we are still just the same, just like our parents.
  • dannylee-78082 - 12 January 2023
    Memories of the Past
    I have to preface this review by saying that I didn't like the movie as much as I felt like I was supposed to. Some called this the best movie of the year but definitely not for me. It was still very good with a gentle touch of nostalgia. The tenderness and the subtlety of the film still came through so much that I don't recommend watching this film when you are tired. I also loved how the film never explicitly stated what was going on with Calum (Paul Mescal). The Scottish accents were endearing now that I actually had subtitles for it.

    I think both actors were phenomenal in portraying perhaps one of the most heartfelt father-daughter relationships on screen recently. You could tell that even though there was some distance between them, most likely because Sophie (Frankie Corio) lives with her mom, they loved each other. I didn't realize until later it was adult Sophie looking for Calum in the rave, but that probably means her memories. In her mind, Calum remains as the dazed dancer, as she last saw him. This suggests that since that vacation, Calum has no longer been part of her life for whatever reason. Some suggest suicide, which I think is a valid explanation.

    Perhaps I had way too high of an expectation because I feel like I wasn't as emotional as I should have been. Next time, I'm watching a movie when I am of sound mind to better appreciate it.
  • sarezale - 11 January 2023
    Unappealing miserablism
    Boring moments in the boring lives of boring people... told in a boring way.

    In a film too heavy on ellipsis, I found it very difficult to engage with the characters, about whom we get to learn very little throughout the film.

    Boring and uneventful does not equal poignant or arty in my opinion.

    Although formally there is some interesting experimentation, I found the film rather vacuous.

    Yes, I get that the film seems to be precisely about the emptiness in the character's life, etc. But I feel cheated by the director's determined refusal to give clearer hints about why the character is feeling that way at that particular stage in his life.
  • lauralmacleod - 11 January 2023
    Whatever it is ..it's not enough
    Found this film utterly pretentious and boring. Cannot understand the hype. I sincerely believe it is because the main actor has a cult following around him so he could literally stand and be filmed doing nothing and he would get a 5 star review. The premise of the film appears to be a last chance holiday between a young father and his pre-teen daughter before there must be separation due to the father's mental health struggles. The child appears as an adult towards the end of the film and seems depressive herself; but its only suggested. That is the issue with this film; no substance only suggestion. Long lingering shots of sleeping people in the dark - when I say long ...I mean long. Found this intensely irritating . Or a long lingering shot of waves crashing at night. WHY? Depression metaphor? To me the film is a kind of art house experiment and the kind of film that wins 'Most promising director' on a Film Making Masters . It's a long film too and I couldn't wait for it to end.
  • carlotaauzman - 10 January 2023
    Touching and deep, funny and heartwarming at times, but definitely heartbreaking.
    Endless vacation, 90's hotels with thousands of crappy activities that your father refuses to attend, lots of new pool friends, the hotel has become your new mini-city full of corners to explore. Joining in with the grow-ups and not fitting in, although you don't like playing anymore with the little ones and feeling lost among so many new and unknown pre-adolescent sensations. Back in your thirties, feeling even more lost. Desperate and failed attempt to take refuge in that place where everything was safe, although your nobel intelligence already sensed that it would not last forever. Best movie of the year.
  • garethcrook - 9 January 2023
    Beautifully moving.
    Despite the hype around Aftersun. I know nothing going in. I'm good at burying my head in the sand. We're introduced to a young father and his daughter, spending time together on holiday in Turkey. Sunshine and sea. It's all very normal feeling. Calum (Paul Mescal) is a good dad. Doting. Sophie (Frankie Corio), growing up, her perspective in flux. Maybe it's the quieter moments, but I've a sense of unease. Maybe it's the lingering shots. Maybe it's the dark strings that creep in. Sophie has a lot of questions and a lot on her mind, perhaps they both do. Something is being left unsaid. Herein is the problem with writing about films like this. It's all about the feeling given off. It's a rare trick to pull off and marks this out as something a bit special. I'm also reluctant to spoil this for anyone who's not yet watched it. Mescal and Corio are both brilliant at portraying this. Dialogue is often sparse and it's the things left unsaid that weigh the heaviest. With a DV camera, Sophie records parts of the holiday. Standard blurred, badly framed memories. Clips of both of them sharing time... until Sophie who's just turned 11, asks her Dad "When you were 11, what did you think you would be doing now". Its pivotal question innocently posed. Aftersun is a beautiful piece of filmmaking. Wonderfully shot, perfectly cast, with the sort of narrative that envelopes you. I love that this kind of film kind not only garner critical acclaim but also find an audience. It gives me faith in the future of film... and people. "Did you have a good holiday?", "Yeah, wish we could stay for longer". That's how I feel about this film.
  • reisenachjerusalem - 9 January 2023
    It wasn't meant to be liked, it was meant to be understood
    This film feels like it was made to be divisive. I can see why some people would despise it and call it slow, however I can also see why others would say how it is extremely moving. I am in the middle of that.

    During the film, there isn't too much plot, and deliberately so. It focusses more on the relationship between the father (Mescal) and his daughter (Corrio). While watching it, there isn't too much excitement or disruption, but after processing it at the end it all makes sense. Some scenes (for example one of the first scenes where Mescal is smoking a cigarette for a solid minute) feel too drawn-out, but after knowing why this is done I can't blame the director for it.

    Obviously the performances in this movie are fantastic, with Mescal's Scottish accent being spot-on to the extent when me, an Irish person, forgot he was Irish. Corrio also has a long career ahead of her, what a breakout role to have.

    On the whole, Aftersun was a film that doesn't have the most engaging viewing experience at first, despite the holiday aesthetics, but it does capture the tension of a compromised family holiday, with joy in the small moments but pain in the boredom too. It is worth watching because the ending contextualises the relationship.
  • Mateo-EGC - 9 January 2023
    Vacations with melancholic overtones
    The ending touched my soul, it hurt me a lot.

    A simple plot of a father and daughter having a vacation can turn into a deep and painful story.

    A girl who still can't understand her father's pain, and a father who does his best to make his daughter happy. Night comes and it is there where the warm light that reflects Sophie contrasts with the cold light that reflects her father, showing the depression that floods him and the innocence of his little girl.

    Once we reach the end, all the pieces of the beginning come together and everything makes sense, you understand how powerful the message is, how powerful the performances and direction were, great enough to feel sadness, pain and emptiness with its melancholic denouement.
  • ben-snooks - 8 January 2023
    Conflicted about this film
    It's a well made film with great acting by both main leads but I was kind of left feeling empty at the end. The story slowly built for two hours then we see the father at a nightclub never to be seen again. Did he die? Did he leave on purpose? Did Sophie actually push him away. We don't know and the writer/director doesn't really show us. The holiday seemed a bit surreal because it was almost too perfect, like all the best moments of summer holidays rolled into one. My upbringing was never so rosy. Why is Sophie now so many years later going through the memories of this holiday? The focus of the film is on the holiday and then also on the reality that a relationship can end. I think we all know this as friends and family come into and often leave our lives over time. I'm not really sure what the film is trying to say. Enjoy the moments while they last? It's not clear. I'd like to rate this film more highly but the ending or lack of one was frustrating more than anything.
  • hjvergara - 8 January 2023
    Childhood memories can haunt us forever - a tender film
    Critics and audiences have been raving about a little indie film currently on Amazon Prime called "Aftersun". The film thrives on its subtleties and ambiguities, and I think this may turn away some viewers. However, these are the special elements that give the film its edge - you are not given all the answers, but you are given enough visual storytelling to form your own judgments about an incredibly intimate and organic story of a woman reminiscing about a vacation she took with her father in Turkey when she was a young girl. The moments of tenderness, honesty, and vulnerability between Calum, played with a raw and anguished sensibility by Paul Mescal, and his teenage daughter Sophie (a very natural, curious, and wise performance by Frankie Corio) make this a true touching charmer.

    Shot to look much like a shaky home video with hints of French New Wave influences, the scenes unfold quite seamlessly to make the viewers join adult Sophie in her journey of watching old video footage to deconstruct the memories of that shared experience she had with her dad. It's not so much about what Sophie discovers upon revisiting these evocations, but about what we, as the viewer, can infer or conclude based on these recollections. And these are largely based on dissections of quiet, symbolic moments interspersed throughout. Both beautiful and haunting.
  • celia_murphy - 8 January 2023
    What happened?
    I was engrossed with this film but I was waiting on something happening. The two main characters were great and it was lovely to see the father daughter relationship. But what happened.....did Calum die?... Sorry, I may be old fashioned, I find this with a lot of movies now, they seem to finish with an unexplained ending, as if they don't know how to finish it.....I still like a film that has an ending, this one left me stumped. Is this a modern way to finish the movies now, just leaving you guessing what happened, will probably be trying to work out what might have happened. Not the best ending so hence the low star rating.
  • torrascotia - 7 January 2023
    Nothing to write home about.
    This is another of these uber hyped arthouse releases which doesn't really live up to its reputation. I am unsure if its because its a UK/Scottish movie or if its because its a female director, but this seems to have been getting rave reviews despite it being a fairly average film within this genre.

    The story is basically a father and daughter on holiday, the father is no longer with the mother and a camcorder is used to document the holiday. The daughter is 11 and beginning to come into puberty while the father is obviously struggling with health issues which are never made clear.

    There are many films which focus on holiday/beach/island settings in the arthouse world. This has a similar vibe to Movern Callar or any other of these types of movies which use this setting as a type of dream world where the narrative is deliberately confusing and from a female perspective. And thats the problem with this film. It really focuses on a male protagonist but written from a female point of view. As a result we have what appears to be a weak and over emotional father, unable to set out boundaries for his daughter and is really irresponsible to the point his daughter is at risk of harm. Of course this being 2023 this is supposed to be a depiction of mental health issues, yet these issues are never fleshed out to the extent we can sympathise. Its almost as if the fact the main character being male means this is not worth exploring. As previously mentioned the narrative is deliberately opaque, particularly the ending. Which seems to be the current trend, as if this somehow makes this a more valuable piece of work. As a result we have an ending that is supposed to leave an uncertainty about the fate of the father, which again almost means that his experience or character arc simply doesn't matter. The only thing that seems to matter is how the daughter feels about how she remembers the holiday.

    There is nothing deep or meaningful about this film, its actually fairly shallow. The fact that so little time is given to the emotional reflection of the daughter at the end while emotive music plays just reinforces that the majority of the time leading up to the incomprehensible finale was wasted. Its not that I didnt get the film, there is just very little to get. It seems as if you write a script whereby the male characters are this shallow and disposable and then write an ambiguous ending to force discussion this will somehow be a good substitution for a good script. Unfortunately too many people are too easily satisfied it appears, this will only appeal to studenty types who think talking about films like this will impress other people.

    I will say that this male actor seems to be carving out a very odd niche for himself which seems to be as the mumbling sensitive male in female lead narratives. I think I will avoid anything hes in from now on.