Aftersun is a beautiful heartbreaking film with several themes.

Twenty years after their last holiday at a fading vacation resort, Sophie reflects on the rare time spent with her loving and idealistic father Calum. At 11-years-old, as the world of adolescence creeps into Sophie’s view, Calum struggles under the weight of life outside of fatherhood. Sophie’s recollections become a powerful and heartrending portrait of their relationship, as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t.

Aftersun may seem simple on the surface but as you explore the film and notice the several hints or themes and where the film is going, it hits so much harder in all the right ways. For starters the performances are truly fantastic here Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio give some of the best performances of the year hands down, they also portray one of the most real father and daughter bones ever put on film. Every single emotion, action and behavior is there and truly pushes this film into something much bigger. The film takes place during Callum and Sophie’s holiday vacation, a vacation that’s remembered as sweet yet filled with tons of emotions that you wouldn’t expect. There’s themes of mental health, nostalgia, connection to time and much more, the film drops hints as it goes on to let the viewer know where it’s headed. The thing is that even with the little hints the viewer isn’t completely sure where the film ends up going, it’s a masterfully done way to get the viewer ready for the final moments of the film while also keeping it a mystery. The two different perspectives the film switches back forth to are both handled wonderfully, there’s Sophie’s perspective which is childlike yet notices that there is something bothering with Callum. When Callum says “I’m okay” Sophie would naturally believe him since she’s a child, this is where the nostalgia and mental health come in, Sophie now an adult noticing the signs that Callum was not okay is a very dark moment to face. It’s implied here that Callum ended his life the film doesn’t end up saying whether he did or not it leaves that up to the viewer. Callum’s perspective captures what it feels like to have a lot of depression, you are trying to have a good time at an event, with family and much more. But something is bothering even though there really isn’t anything to worry about, these subtle moments are dropped carefully throughout the film some even using some clever camerawork. The use of certain songs is truly fantastic especially Under Pressure which is a very touching scene as it’s towards the end and shows the final moments of Callum and Sophie being together, the ending is truly hard hitting and unleashes everything that has led up to. All of this is wonderfully done due to director and writer Charlotte Wells, Wells really makes Aftersun her directional debut film into something absolutely special that is very unique. Aftersun is truly one of the absolute best films of the year.

Aftersun is available on all VOD platforms.

10/10 A+

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