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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'Aftersun': A Deeply Emotive Drama About a Father-and-Daughter's Milestone Shared Excursion


Movie poster for Aftersun (2022)

Aftersun (2022) is a deeply emotive human drama starring Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio as Calum and Sophie, a father-and-daughter duo on a Turkish holiday in the 1990s. Sophie records many of their day-to-day activities on handheld video camera, with the footage interspersed throughout the film's running time—all while adult Sophie rewatches their trip 20 years later and reflects on the experience.


At the time of the trip, Calum is separated from Sophie's mother and yearns for a plaintive escape with his 11-year-old daughter, booking a shared room at an aging seaside resort. Sophie is a perceptive girl teetering on adolescence who senses dismay in her father, though he masks his feelings with enthusiasm for their shared adventure. As the storyline progresses, the two enjoy holiday amusements while hints of Paul's melancholy eke out, Sophie struggling to understand his all-too-adult difficulties. Some time later we come upon adult Sophie wistfully viewing the footage she shot so many years earlier, now able to comprehend at least some part of her father's grief.


Written and directed by Scottish filmmaker Charlotte Wells, Aftersun is a piercing illustration of perspective and contemplation. Mescal and Corio demonstrate palpable chemistry, honed from weeks of cohabitation prior to filming, which lends incredibly authenticity to their onscreen relationship. Together they have assiduously recreated Wells' relationship with her own father in the form of searing autobiographical visual art—their father-daughter bond the emotional bedrock of this pristine viewing experience.

 

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