Cast: Josephine Langford, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, Khadijha Red Thunder, Shane Paul McGhie
Director: Jenny Gage
Can 2019 be the year that we stop trying to turn fan fictions into legitimate movies? I understand the appeal of writing something on a blog to express your creative side and explore your inner fantasies, but there’s a reason why these stories aren’t written by professionals. When the premise of this story originally started off as One Direction fan fiction, you knew we would be in for a rough ride we got exactly that in After. Much like other fan fiction adaptations such as the Fifty Shades and Twilight series, the acting is poor, the story is laughable, and the pacing is slothlike, making any viewing experience just absolutely miserable.
The film follows Tessa Young (Langford), an innocent college freshman who is living away from home for the first time time and experiencing what life has in store for her. At college, she meets Hardin Scott (Fiennes-Tiffin), an older bad boy who completely challenges the way Tessa views the world. Hardin and Tessa eventually get involved in a relationship that will never leave Tessa the same as she was before she met Hardin. Honestly even writing the previous sentences was embarrassing to me, so you can imagine that watching it was 100 times worse. With just how pitiful the writing of the story and dialogue was, this movie didn’t have a prayer at being remotely good. I’ll start off with the main problem, I identified more with the antagonist far more than the protagonist and was actively supporting Hardin’s choices. Is this because I’m a guy and this movie wasn’t intended to be viewed by me? Probably. But as someone who can offer that alternative opinion, I found myself in a constant battle with the premise of the film. One of the most notable examples is when Tessa asks Hardin who he loves most in the world and he says himself, much to her dismay and critique. Let me make it clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this answer. Who is going to have Hardin’s best interests other than him? Who is going to have his back more than him? There is nothing wrong with loving yourself more than anyone else because if you don’t, who will? That’s one of the main premises of the movie, Tessa tries to change a man who is set in his ways instead of accepting that he is this way for a reason and walking away when she feels uncomfortable. On top of this, I’ve never suffered so much secondhand embarrassment in my life after watching the way Tessa’s high school boyfriend Noah (Dylan Arnold) reacts to her changes and how he doesn’t have the maturity to handle even the smallest of changes. These scenes are just so uncomfortable because Tessa is clearly only with him because he’s a safe option for her and she can’t handle the concept that there are better options available for her. And finally, the films wraps in a way where Hardin is the one that ends up changing his ways. I don’t necessarily believe he did anything that bad, but the foundation of his character is completely undermined by Tessa’s presence when he’s clearly the more secure one in the relationship. Obviously with the source material written by a woman with the intention of being viewed or read by women, they’re going to frame their story around their audience. However that doesn’t mean this you can just make up events and people that would never exist. I should’ve expected a poor level of quality just based on the premise of this movie, but somehow this film still managed to disappoint me.
Overall, part of me wants to trash this movie because it goes against everything that I stand for, but at the same time, is this really worth the battle? Sure the movie made a ton of money compared to its budget, but did anyone really think this would be good? This is a movie that exists exclusively to rake in the money of the young adults of today and will forgotten just as easily.
Overall Score: 1/10