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Aftersun

  • 18-11-2022 5:46pm
    #1
    Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 28,929 CMod ✭✭✭✭


    In cinemas now, out on Mubi in a while (an increasingly common refrain for very good films!)

    This is the debut feature from Scottish filmmaker Charlotte Wells, starring Ireland's own Paul Mescal and young Frankie Corio as a father and daughter on a break at a package holiday resort in Turkey in the late 90s. 20 years later, the daughter looks back on the videotapes they recorded on the trip, but also her relationship with her father.

    This is the best film I've seen this year, and I find it hard to explain why. The film is very simple and understated and unsentimental (at least in the usual sense). But what Wells has done - with the help of two utterly convincing central performances - is create something that gets completely under the skin. It's absolutely emotionally shattering, and yet it never actually overtly says what has happened in the space between what we see on screen. Instead, Wells just uses carefully judged dream sequences to suggest an insurmountable distance and absence that's never spoken aloud. It's an eerily accurate portrayal of a family holiday by the pool, but also Wells carefully uses DV camera footage to very elegantly emphasise that we're watching all this from a modern perspective.

    It's a stunning film - so deceptively simple on the surface, but this heartbreaking exploration of memory, nostalgia, loss, and growing up. An extraordinary debut feature, and one that'll stick with me for a very long time to come.



Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,951 ✭✭✭steve_r


    Watched this last night and found it incredibly moving. Very impressed by the performance of both of the leads.

    I'd seen the trailer, and the good reviews it was getting, but I wasn't sure what direction the story was going to go into.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,989 ✭✭✭Shelga


    Saw this tonight. Also found it very moving. I know someone struggling with depression at the moment and it really got to me. Everything kept hidden, how it eats away at you and makes you feel ashamed. Paul Mescal and the actress playing his daughter were both fantastic.



  • Registered Users, Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 2,126 Mod ✭✭✭✭Nigel Fairservice


    I saw this recently. I think it's the best movie I've seen in a while yet I'm finding it hard to even put words on it as to why. On the surface not a whole lot happens, it's just the reminances of a woman's memories of a childhood holiday spent with her father but under the surface a lot is going on.

    From reading the reviews you get a sense of something happening in the father daughter relationship and I thought there would be some kind of big reveal scene in the movie but it never comes. It's very much left open to interpretation. You'll be turning this movie over in your mind long after you've seen it.

    Post edited by Nigel Fairservice on


  • Registered Users Posts: 312 ✭✭SheepsClothing


    Seen this last weekend. Seemingly pedestrian enough, if nice and well made through the first hour or so. I was thinking it was going to be another C'mon C'mon that wouldn't quite click with me, but I have found the last act and ending have stayed with me for days after. I keep rewatching the dance scene up to the final shot and find the feelings come flooding in again. Films that play with memory like this always get me and in this case the perspective we are getting makes everything that happens throughout the film so much more meaningful.



  • Registered Users Posts: 83,456 ✭✭✭✭JP Liz V1


    Mescal is generating Oscar buzz for his role



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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,455 ✭✭✭cozar


    watched it last week and found it incredibly sad. I think that adult Sophie is relying on memory (video clips are the only real memories) and maybe blocking out some bits of the holiday that her mind wanted to forget possibly a life changing incident.



  • Registered Users Posts: 13,425 ✭✭✭✭Thelonious Monk


    Best film I've seen in a long time. The rave scene at the end really captures the weirdness of dreams and memories for me and just how much she wanted to talk to her dad now that she was an adult. Very sad.



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,595 ✭✭✭Did you smash it


    has a sadder movie being made? I’m not sure I’ll ever watch this movie again. It’s an excellent movie but tread carefully if you’re of a sensitive disposition



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    I'm struggling as to why viewers found this so sad and emotional since nothing really happens and much of the subtlety is open to interpretation. Maybe it requires a common situation with the actors in some way, but I didn't find it so sad. A Man Named Otto watched the other day was infinitely sadder to me!

    Spoiler Alert-

    Mescals character is into drugs, and it seems he has perhaps lost most of himself to that. Are we to assume he killed himself from the postcard he wrote, and that the wave at the airport was the last time they saw each other? Or with the final rave scene does it not just maintain the narrative that is has been into drugs and is still into drugs which has taken him away from her and still does it?

    Grown up Sophie at the end doesn't seem to bothered about anything. Young Sophie had a pretty good coming of age experience on her holiday with her Dad.

    I mean where is the emotional gravitas in all of this?



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  • Registered Users Posts: 507 ✭✭✭Cetyl Palmitate


    Were there references to the dad in the movie having drug issues ? I didn't pick up on that.

    The ending was moving as it was the memory of the last time they spent together. The dad was suffering from depression but the younger Sophie didn't recognise or understand the signs. Her adult self is trying to piece together what her father was feeling at the time without ever being able to really know.



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Well he looked off his head in the rave scenes, and he was pushing sophie away in the final one so he could be in his own world. At least thats what it looked like to me



  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 10,981 Mod ✭✭✭✭Fysh


    You seem to have a very different take on the film to most folk who've appreciated it (myself included).

    Do you mind elaborating on why you think the father was into drugs? Between the tai chi, a couple of the books that we are shown in the hotel room, and the under-the-surface aspects of his behaviour my take was that he has been struggling with depression (or some other mental health issue) for some time. Whether it is building to something specific is unclear but he seems to want this trip to serve as a chance to form some happy memories with his daughter, without knowing quite how to do that. Consider the karaoke scene, where Sophie just wants to sing an REM song with her dad, but for Calum either the karaoke itself or the lyrics of the song make it an insurmountable obstacle. Or his midnight swim, which for me had enough desperation feeding into it that it was at least partly an attempt to drown himself.

    My take is that the film is from the perspective of the adult daughter trying to figure out what she might have missed that was going on with her father - we see her waking up in the middle of the night (and the shot also shows that she has kept the rug he bought on the holiday, however many years later it is), and the closing shots appear to be a mixture of dream and memory, mixing the airport arrivals lounge where she last saw him with the dancing at the resort where he last seemed happy to her. For me the implication is that something happened to her father, and she is struggling to understand what caused it.



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    Well like I said above, a lot of rave scenes with him on his own off his head. Growing up with a group of friends who were big into E and being the odd one out I had many an opportunity to see lads off their heads dancing on pills. And thats what those scenes screamed to me. And it also fit with the fact he was telling his ex wife he loved her, and there didn't seem a reason for his divorce/break up there other then drugs. And especially the final rave scene he is pushing older Sophie away so he can dance on his own. I mean for me it's 100% drugs the reason for his issues. One could argue drugs are a result of depression, but a lot of people take drugs and are not depressed.

    Theres one scene of him crying and another where he walks into the sea - to me they don't scream depression. The crying scene screams regret because he likely hasn't been there for his daughter, and thats why he wrote that on her card.

    What makes me think he didn't kill himself is that he said you can always talk to me about boys and drugs - and more to that why would a father say something so ridiculous to his what 10 year old daughter about you can tell me what drugs you take? Any fathers saying that to their daughters at that age? I don't think so.

    He also said he didn't think he'd make it to 40, and making it to 30 was miracle. At first I thought of he is terminally ill, and then I realised no he's a pill head as it goes to a rave scene shortly afterwards with him out of breath dancing like mad.

    So this is why it didn't generate any emotion from me, because I don't see where the sympathy is to generate for him. Alongside that Sophie seemed to be having a pretty good time. Holidays hanging out with older kids, probably her first kiss, having a nice time with her dad. I'm not really sure about the waking up scene, - it kind of looked like there was track marks on here forearm, but not 100% sure. The last scene she didn't really seem upset at all to be honest, just watching an old video of her dad with no expression at all. No loss, or regret.



  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 10,981 Mod ✭✭✭✭Fysh


    To me the rave scene came off as a dream mixing disparate elements, particularly given how the final shot in the airport arrivals lounge plays. There's a good chance that the scene of Sophie & Calum dancing at the resort is also a dream rather than the something that happened - she seems to associate happiness and/or her father being happy with dancing (but that might just be me reading too much into it).

    For me there's definitely depression or something else going on - he's doing tai-chi and breathing exercises (first mentioned when Sophie's on the phone to her mum and talks about him doing his "weird ninja moves"), and he has self-help books in the room (at least one has "anxiety" in the title but I don't remember the exact titles).

    As well as wandering out into the sea in the middle of the night after several drinks, there's an earlier moment when we see him standing on the balcony railings for no obvious reason. There's a persistent sadness to Calum's demeanour that strongly implies an ongoing internal struggle with something, to me. I might be remembering wrong, but I thought there was a hint that he couldn't afford the holiday or the rug, but had spent the money anyway, which would be another thing weighing on him.

    I need to watch it again now it's on Mubi, but I found it to have a strong enough impact that I'd want to pick the right day for it. Viewed just as Sophie's foreign holiday it's very sweet - I particularly like that the teenagers she meets are decent and look out for her, for example - but everything around her relationship with Calum fills it with a sadness that's inescapable for me.



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