Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Aftersun is a moisturizing lotion applied to the skin to soothe sunburn and avoid peeling. The symbolic title announces a deceptively simple movie with significant depth. It opens with rewinding home video footage of a vacation at a modest resort in Turkey during the summer of 1999. The videotape reignites the memories of that trip for an adult woman (Celia Rowlson Hall). 11-year-old Sophie (Frankie Corio) is a precocious and perceptive youth on the cusp of adolescence. She’s on holiday with her dad. Calum Paterson is about to turn 31, so there is an age difference of less than 20 years between them.

Calum is a loving and supportive presence in his daughter’s life. The saga presents a series of seemingly random and inconsequential events. The account is a study in simplicity. They swim in the Mediterranean, play a game of pool, shop for a rug, and eat ice cream. In these warm interactions, we gradually explore the dynamics of this father-daughter duo. However, something is amiss. It’s subtle. At one point, Sophie tries to get Calum to join her on stage for a karaoke version of “Losing My Religion,” but he isn’t feeling it. It is implied they used to sing this together on holidays in the past. You’ll have to look closely to identify clues suggesting melancholia.

Aftersun is a gentle wisp of a recollection. A fond reminiscence of happier times. This was one of the most acclaimed releases of 2022 and appeared on over a hundred critics’ top 10 lists. It even garnered a Best Actor Oscar nomination for star Paul Mescal. He gives a nuanced performance, as does actress Frankie Corio, who plays his daughter. I was impressed by their relaxed chemistry in this thoughtful pastiche of flashbacks. Two things of note: (1) Calum was young when he became a father. (2) He’s now separated from Sophie’s mother. This portrait will affect you more if you identify with Sophie’s situation.

Aftersun is a profoundly personal picture. Charlotte Wells is a talented filmmaker who clearly understands the power of restraint and patience. That this is her first feature makes it one of the most self-assured directorial debuts of 2022. The chronicle perfectly illustrates “show, don’t tell.” As such, the delicacy of the screenplay is the more profound meaning between the lines. This is a profoundly personal picture. The evocation of a mood is compelling. But be forewarned. The nostalgia of this trip is an intimate reflection that builds to an ambiguous conclusion. It may hit you like an emotional ton of bricks or leave you asking a question that does not have a definitive answer.


One Response to “Aftersun”

  1. After watching the movie, I understood the meaning and got a little emotional. It’s actually heartbreaking, leaving the reason why, up to the viewer. Paul and Frankie were excellent. 3 1/2 stars ⭐️


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: