March 20, 2023
Review: Terrific father-daughter drama Aftersun will break your heart in two

Review: Terrific father-daughter drama Aftersun will break your heart in two

Aftersun is a story of small moments, as the viewer watches an 11-year-old Sophie (Frankie Corio), left, hang out with Calum (Paul Mescal), who is so young she is constantly mistaken for her brother instead than for his parents. .Courtesy of A24

  • After Sun
  • Written and directed by Charlotte Wells
  • Featuring Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio
  • Classification R; 96 minutes
  • Open in select theaters October 28

Critic’s Choice

There are movies that don’t hit – that don’t quite deliver the intended crush – until your time with them is almost over.

After Sun, the feature debut of Scottish filmmaker Charlotte Wells, develops patiently without urgency or worry, confidently building a series of half-formed memories into something stable, something real, over the course of a very atmospheric but largely plotless. But when the film’s final moments arrive – in a perfectly edited scene that’s recorded to a distorted version of Queen and David Bowie Under pressureof all the overused songs in the world – After Sun cuts you in half with such emotional intensity, such impressive dramatic force, that I could only sit and hold back the inevitable tears.

A memory game that takes pleasure in playing with memory, After Sun is reserved by thirtysomething Sophie (Celia Rowlson-Hall) revisiting old camcorder footage from the summer vacation she took with her father Calum in the late 1990s. Adult Sophie is looking for something – confirmation, denial, discharge? — about his father, though Wells keeps the truth rather vague. Above all, it’s a story of the little moments, as we watch 11-year-old Sophie (Frankie Corio) hang out with Calum (Paul Mescal), who’s so young he’s constantly mistaken for his brother rather than his parents. .

The relationship between Sophie and her father is not strained, but it is marked by an acute distance when we learn that she lives with her mother.Courtesy of A24

The couple’s relationship is not strained, although it is marked by an acute distance. Through asides of dialogue and half-heard phone calls at home, we learn that Sophie lives with her mother, that Calum still retains an affection (though not necessarily romantic) for the mother of his child, and that this sunny escape into A cheap Turkish resort is an exceptionally big gesture for the cash-strapped dad. As the pair hang out by the pool, sip an endless stream of faux-tropical drinks, endure evening “entertainment” hosted by hotel staff, and pick and push each other’s story, Wells produces a carefully measured lyrical portrait. a bond that is both natural and unconventional.

Occasionally stepping out of the main action to dive into the digitization of the journey – with some camcorder-captured moments played back and then re-enacted by adult Sophie in her quest to decipher… Something – Wells slips in just enough ambiguities to surprise. Calum sports a cast on his right arm, but can’t or won’t tell Sophie how he got the injury. And what about the times when Calum is sequestered on the balcony of their hotel room, dancing to an unheard tune? Sophie and the audience are left to unravel these moments with an innocent curiosity that becomes captivating, addictive.

All in After Sun feels calibrated just like that, from the embarrassing details of the 90s period – finally, a filmmaker found the courage to use the music of Canadian hip-hop collective Bran Van 3000 on screen – to the rather crummy holiday motifs Sophie and Calum’s property, perfect for unambitious vacationers who want adventure without the risk of a real stranger.

Sincerity, nostalgia and whiffs of family mystery are brought together by two perfect little performances. Corio, a newcomer who feels straight out of Wells’ imagination, is achingly pure as Sophie, a girl on the verge of rebellious adolescence who, at least for now, doesn’t desire nothing more than being attached to this man she only partially knows.

As Calum (Paul Mescal) alternates between watching over his daughter and waging some sort of inner battle, Mescal delicately balances protective parental instincts with deep inner grief.Courtesy of A24

Mescal, meanwhile, continues to deliver on the promise he displayed in his breakthrough role when he starred in Sally Rooney’s 2020 TV adaptation. normal people. As Calum alternates between watching over Sophie and waging some kind of inner battle that Wells only briefly defines, Mescal delicately balances protective parental instincts with deep inner grief. (It’s also, coincidentally but perfectly, Mescal’s second run in as many years playing a lost soul adrift in a janky European vacation spot, following his supporting turn in The lost girl.)

As wonderful as both actors are, even their terrific work can’t quite prepare you for the punch that’s coming. After Sunthe last seconds. If I can offer a warning that’s also a recommendation: Wells made such a devastating film that you’ll thank her for breaking your heart in two.

#Review #Terrific #fatherdaughter #drama #Aftersun #break #heart

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