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A hypnotic and mesmerizing quiet slice of life.
We’re reviewing Aftersun (2022) movie, which contains minor spoilers.
Written and directed by Charlotte Wells, After sun is an exploration of relationships, especially those between father and daughter, and the complexities and nuances that are often so subtle that they are overlooked or ignored. In flashbacks and video clips we see 11-year-old Sophie and her 30-year-old father Callum vacationing in Turkey.
Aftersun Review and Plot Summary
In terms of plot, there is a simple premise for the film. Callum and his eleven-year-old daughter Sophie vacation in a Turkish resort in the early 2000s. What’s not so simple are the undercurrents that run between the lines of the film and the ambiguous nature of the narrative. On the surface it appears to be a somewhat melancholic study of the relationship between the two leads, but when you scratch the surface of the script there seems to be something else going on that might be overlooked at first glance.
It is apparent early on in the film that Callum seems to have some distance from Sophie, although he obviously loves her dearly, and it would be easy to say that this could stem from the personal circumstances affecting both characters.
As the film progresses, however, we see that we are looking at events retrospectively from Sophie’s point of view. It is also evident that Sophie is a bright and intelligent child, and she pays close attention to her father’s actions and decisions.
As an eleven-year-old, Sophie is interested in everything that happens around her. We see her interacting with other children at the resort and there are scenes where she leaves her father and experiences the holidays without his presence.
The main flashback we see apparently shows Callum at a rave, complete with manic music and strobe lights, suggesting Callum may have been part of that scene. As the holiday continues, we catch sight of the father-daughter duo engaging in various activities including scuba diving and karaoke.
However, these adventures are always slightly tense and Callum often appears either bored or disinterested. At the end of the film we see Callum saying goodbye to Sophie at the airport. Then there’s a time jump, and we see an adult Sophie looking at an old video of the vacation, but seemingly upset by the memories of what may have been her last time with her loving father.
After sun is a film that is meticulous about its script and delicate about its themes. Watching events unfold in the haze of a Turkish landscape almost hypnotizes you, slowly taking you through the small events of Sophie and Callum, gently guiding you through their time together and very rarely doing anything to break your spell. There are very few moments that approach real drama, but it is this mastery of form that makes this film unique.
You’re almost a voyeur in the audience, the performances are so natural it feels like you’re secretly watching, and the tone is so atmospheric that it’s easy to miss what many consider to be the main thrust of the two leads’ arc. This might be a slice of life that shows little, but if you manage to take a step back during the flashbacks and sleepy dream sequences, it reveals that there was a lot more going on than first meets the eye.
There’s no sledgehammer exposure or voiceover, and you need to work a little to get to the heart of the matter, but that only makes the film more intriguing. When we as viewers finally begin to understand the true meaning of the holiday, it’s heartbreaking and haunting. We essentially see through Sophie’s eyes the soul-shattering reality of their last time together, and this revelation, while never heavy-handed, leaves you as abandoned and alone as Sophie is.
This film proves that there are still projects that can be thought-provoking. In a sea of franchises, prequels, sequels and CGI nightmares, After sun lets you know that originality and talent still exist.
Is the movie from 2022 After sun Well?
It’s hard to pigeonhole this film as it leaves a lot of room for interpretation. There are subjects that can be tackled more skilfully in subsequent articles, but if you’re at all interested in the medium, you should check out this production.
How you react to the film may depend on your expectations of the medium. It’s a quiet, thoughtful, ambiguous and beautiful film, and no matter how you analyze it, it’s hard not to engage. Perhaps the pacing isn’t for everyone, and the small world in which the characters exist may leave some viewers a little cold, but the technical precision the film presents has been hidden behind the ease of the cast and director. This is a masterful presentation that should be on your watch list now.
What did you think of the movie Aftersun (2022)? Comment below.
https://readysteadycut.com/2023/01/16/aftersun-2022-review/ Aftersun Review – a calm, thoughtful look at the nature of father and daughter