Review in Brief: Aftersun (2022)

Charlotte Wells is a filmmaker unafraid to let a scene play out, to hold exactly as long as is required. AFTERSUN follows 31 year-old divorced dad Calum (Paul Mescal, sensational) and his daughter Sophie (Frankie Corio, an instant star), both trying to make the most of a holiday to Turkey and struggling to find connection. A symbolically relevant long-take early on sees Sophie fast asleep and Calum separated by a screen door behind her, frantically trying to light his cigarette one-handed, the only sound his daughter’s steady breathing in the room. This scene is repeated in reverse later on and several echoes in both their lives pack potent emotions as we draw towards the film’s conclusion. Films set in the 1990s are, depressingly, period films now, and Wells perfectly sums up universal memories of disappointing family holidays abroad in this period (you always arrived at 3am to a slightly shitty hotel with building work going on and had to endure some ghastly nighttime “entertainment”). This is completely grounded, soulful, beautiful stuff. SSP

About Sam Sewell-Peterson

Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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