Film Review – Aftersun (2022)

Title – Aftersun (2022)  

Director – Charlotte Wells (feature debut) 

Cast – Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio, Celia Rowlson-Hall

Plot – Adult Sophie (Rowlson-Hall) reflects back on the holiday she shared with her father Calum (Mescal) when she was an 11 year old (Corio). 

“I think it’s nice that we share the same sky”

Review by Eddie on 22/02/2023

One of the little films that could in 2022, upcoming British filmmaker Charlotte Wells has with her debut feature inspired by her own youth and relationship with her father crafted a softly spoken seemingly unassuming tale that may take its time making itself truly apparent but by the time it does, it becomes a film likely to leave a lasting impact on viewers who were patient enough to be rewarded with one of the more memorable narrative culminations of the year. 

Staring rising star and the recently Oscar nominated Paul Mescal as complicated father figure Calum and a standout career making turn from young performer Frankie Corio as Calum’s soon to be teenage daughter Sophie, Aftersun follows the adventures of Calum and Sophie on a father/daughter holiday to Turkey where the two find comfort in each others company as they seemingly lounge the days away relaxing by the pool, attending dinners, scuba diving or simply talking as they film many of their adventures, for a large portion of Wells film there will be viewers asking what all the fuss is about but trust in knowing that there is a significant payoff awaiting us as Wells deceptively layered tale comes together. 

I for one am happy to admit I wasn’t exactly enamoured with what I was partaking in for large portions of Aftersun’s early and middle stages, while content enough to watch the world go on around Calum and Sophie it wasn’t until Wells deft hand begins to show itself fully that I became truly aware of what Wells film had done too me, subtly showing and telling me enough only too build upon that in powerful end stretches that act as some of the most powerful and humanistic of recent memory, with an adult Sophie’s sparingly used modern day segments helping create an all-round dramatic affair of rare beauty and nuance.

Winning and being nominated in a plethora of end of year award ceremonies recently, Wells film has struck a chord across the globe and while much credit needs to go to the writer and director as well as her films DOP Gregory Oke, composer Oliver Coates and editor Blair McClendon, the work of both Mescal and Corio can’t be understated in a film that never gives way to “big” moments often found in Hollywood prestige dramas as it keeps things real, fresh and raw.  

Creating one of the most natural and warm father and daughter teams I can recall seeing in a cinematic format as well as general chemistry, Mescal and Corio are both awards worthy in their turns with Mescal in particular producing a considered and measured turn as Calum whose strengths and weaknesses define him with the actor and character warming and breaking our hearts in equal measure as the audience and Sophie come to terms with this key moment in their lives and what it meant for the days yet ahead where childhood disappears and the often unforgiving world comes to the forefront. 

Final Say – 

Stick with Aftersun and you’ll be gifted with one of the most naturalistic and honest family/coming of age dramas you’ve seen in recent times. A significant debut from Charlotte Wells and a calling card for her two leads, Aftersun is a small film with a big beating heart, one of which you won’t soon forget. 

4 1/2 rugs out of 5  

3 responses to “Film Review – Aftersun (2022)

  1. I adore this film, and it was my favourite film of 2022. It’s got an ethereal fluidity to it where it almost forms in the mind of the audience, all coming together with that incredible final shot. Personally I really like that the film takes its time to fully form, though I could understand if that was a criticism for others. In a sea of great father-daughter films, Aftersun vividly stands out for me.

    • Can’t argue against any of those thoughts mate. I found this film really started to hit home for me the more I thought about it in the days since watching it. It was a very touching experience.

  2. Pingback: The Movie Guys – 2023 Oscar Predictions | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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