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MOVIE REVIEW

After

also known as “After - Chapitre 1,” “After Passion,” “After: Aquí empieza todo,” “După ce ne-am întâlnit,” “Miután,” “Prvic,” “Μετά,” «После», «След”
MPAA Rating: PG-13-Rating (MPAA) for sexual content and some college partying.

Reviewed by: Charity Bishop
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Romance Drama Adaptation
Length:
1 hr. 46 min.
Year of Release:
2019
USA Release:
April 12, 2019 (wide—2,138 theaters)
DVD: July 9, 2019
Copyright, Aviron Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Aviron Pictures Copyright, Aviron Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Aviron Pictures

The consequences of giving your heart and body to someone will not be your life partner

Loss of virginity for lust, not true love

The seriousness of losing one’s virginity outside of marriage

SEXUAL LUST outside of marriage—Why does God strongly warn us about it? Answer

What is SEXUAL IMMORALITY? Answer

What is WISDOM? and why is it vital? Answer

How far is TOO FAR? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer

PURITY—Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

Copyright, Aviron Pictures

How can I deal with TEMPTATIONS? Answer

What are the CONSEQUENCES of sexual immorality? Answer

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Copyright, Aviron Pictures Copyright, Aviron Pictures Copyright, Aviron Pictures Copyright, Aviron Pictures Copyright, Aviron Pictures Copyright, Aviron Pictures
Featuring: Josephine LangfordTessa Young
Hero Fiennes TiffinHardin Scott
Khadijha Red ThunderSteph Jones
Selma BlairCarol Young
Jennifer BealsKaren Gibson
Peter GallagherKen Scott
Meadow Williams … Professor Soto
Samuel Larsen … Zed Evans
Inanna Sarkis … Molly Samuels
Pia Mia … Tristan
Dylan Arnold … Noah
Shane Paul McGhie … Landon Gibson
Rebecca Lee Robertson … Rebecca
See all »
Director: Jenny Gage
Producer: CalMaple
Wattpad
See all »
Distributor: Distributor: Aviron Pictures. Trademark logo.
Aviron Pictures

Though billed as a “smoldering” teenage love story, nothing about “After” is remotely unique or controversial.

Fresh on her college campus, the shy bookworm Tessa Young (Josephine Langford) bids her mother and high school boyfriend goodbye and settles into her dorm. Her outgoing, adventurous roommate Steph (Khadijha Red Thunder) has friends in and out of her room, among them the moody, broody, and intense Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin). He is a self-proclaimed cynic who does not believe in love.

After a heated exchange in English Lit. about whether Mr. Darcy is delusional or right about Elizabeth Bennet, the pair of them start shooting off sparks whenever they are in the same room. Tessa cannot stand him, but feels drawn to him. Hardin tells her he is not interested in falling in love. “I can turn it on and off,” he boasts.

She does not listen.

A trip to the lake turns romantic for them. A misunderstanding sends her running to his door to console him. Tessa’s boyfriend feels hurt. Her mother does not like her skipping class to spend time with this boy. Her life melts down, because she feels drawn to this lonely, tattooed lad. But you learn the hardest lessons when you let go, and let yourself fall in love.

The only thing controversial about this teen romance is how dull, predictable, and formulaic it is. It is the exact same scenario we have seen play out on countless screens (most of them small, in the form of teen soaps): good girl meets bad boy, falls in love. He introduces her to sex. She has her heart broken. She heals him. They find each other again. Except… the acting is dreadful. If you want to convince me two young people are in love, and unable to stand not being together, you need crackling chemistry of the sort usually found in Nicholas Sparks adaptations. These two do not have it. And that makes the “tension” bland.

I can see how this film might appeal to the romanticism of its target audience, which is preteen and teenage girls. The fantasy of meeting a boy not interested in love, and being so amazing he changes his mind and falls head over heels in love with you, is something most girls experience at age fifteen. But the truth is, a girl can’t change a guy. Only a relationship with Jesus can transform a life. The idea is setting up girls for a lifetime of disappointment.

Behavior-wise, there’s nothing positive to emulate here. Tessa cheats on a nice boy. She ignores another nice, responsible and respectful boy who has an interest in her, and hones in on Hardin because he’s hot. Unlike her high school senior boyfriend, he touches her. He kisses her. He makes her heart throb. He doesn’t send her texts in the middle of the night, telling her he’s disappointed in her fallen standards. Unlike her boyfriend.

From a secular perspective, there is nothing wrong with this kind of romance. Young people fall in lust. They all need their heart broken at least once. But true love prevails, even if other people get hurt.

SEXUAL LUST outside of marriage—Why does God strongly warn us about it? Answer

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.

Christ called us to live a different kind of life, to be faithful to the ones who place their trust in us. Tessa lies to her mother. She then walks away from her mother when told to dump Hardin. They do eventually make up, but she won’t listen to her mother’s advice about getting her heart broken. She hurts her faithful and chaste boyfriend because she is “confused.” All her decisions are selfish.

Hardin also lies to his friends about his relationship, and hurts Tessa badly, because he’s unwilling to stand up for their relationship in front of others. He lets her believe the worst, because he’s a coward.

Content-wise, there is a lot of touching, heavy breathing, kissing, and a sex scene. Hardin asks if she is “sure,” and she says yes. There is some movement and shots of them from the shoulders up. They bathe together. Hardin scribbles “I love you” on her back in soap suds. They strip down and swim together in the lake, followed by breathy close-ups of him caressing her bare waist. He often undoes her pants and kisses her abdomen.

Tessa’s roommate is either gay or bisexual, and is shown undressing with and making out with a girlfriend. Steph “shames” Tessa by calling her a virgin. Tessa refuses to kiss Hardin on a dare.

There is some bad language. Hardin punches a boy who is hitting on Tessa. He references a traumatic past, in which we are not sure if a gang raped his mother or beat her senseless.

When scrolling through movie recommendations after this flick, I saw an advertisement for another teenage romantic drama, “Five Feet Apart.” It has a similar premise in that a girl sets out to save a boy from his depressive self… but unlike this story, that boy becomes “worthy” because he adopts an attitude of selflessness. He loves her enough to do what is best for her. It’s a far better film, with much stronger chemistry and a more heart-wrenching, but also satisfying, ending.

  • Sex: Very Heavy
  • Nudity: Very Heavy
  • Violence: Moderate— • young men fight • breaking items in father’s home in anger • throwing and breaking bottle in anger
  • Profane language: Moderate— • d*mn • h*ll
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Moderate— • f-word mouthed silently • “Grab your sh*t”
  • Occult: None
Teen Qs™—Christian Answers for teenagers
Teens! Have questions? Find answers in our popular TeenQs section. Get answers to your questions about life, dating and much more.

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Negative
Negative—The movie is about a teenage girl named Tessa that goes off to college and ends up cheating on her long time boyfriend Noah with a guy named Hardin almost immediately after she shows up to college. Before Tessa cheats, this Hardin “dude” does some questionable things such as breaking into her dorm room and refusing to leave when she comes in after a shower and making out with a random girl at a party seconds before making a pass at her. Hardin is not very gentlemanly and in real life this would be questionable behavior, most likely harassment but because he’s presumably young, handsome and a “bad boy” he gets away with it. The most prominent philosophy of the character Hardin is relieved to be to love oneself. There is an emotional moment where Noah finds Tessa cheating, but then two minutes later Tessa is laying with Hardin and the music and tone of the scene suggests that all is well. It continues like that and Tessa disobeys her mother regarding this situation. Now this movie did do two things right. Tessa’s mother forgave her by the end and Noah also forgave Tessa. If there’s anything positive in this movie, it’s that forgiveness is powerful. Tessa also presumably forgives Hardin for a mistake he made by the end of the film as well. This movie sends the wrong message to teens.

Hardin’s philosophy is wrong. The first thing you should love the most is as what Jesus says.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” —Matthew 22:35-40
Tessa and Hardin’s relationship relies solely on the rushes of having sex for the first time. These rushes give out in real relationships. Obviously real relationships rely on much more than sex, but this movie is not interested in “After” that phase, but rather this movie is interested in getting a buck off the initial rush.

As for the quality of the filmmaking… The film just goes along and does nothing truly interesting. We get standard shot reverse shot scenes with characters that are very one dimensional who sit around and act like “rebels” who know everything. It’s just an hour and forty six minutes of meh.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: ½
Ryan (USA)

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Secular Movie Critics
…One probably could chart the progress of their relationship in terms of his face hovering over different parts of her body.… The performances are consistently monotone… [1]
Mark Dujsik, RogerEbert.com
…The kind of dispiriting effort that thinks it’s scratching an itch for masochistic young girls, but primarily suggests that romance, desire and sexuality aren’t worth genuinely exploring.…
Robert Abele, The Wrap
Happy ever After? Not in this cliched teen romance… The key to the book’s success lies in its artful amateurism. It replicates the tone of one teen confiding in another and in this anodyne screen translation, its intimacy is lost. …
Sandra Hall, Sydney Morning Herald
…If your favorite band is still One Direction, this is the film for you. …Come back, “Twilight,” all is forgiven. …
Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
…characters act illogically, as though written by someone who napped through most of Intro to Psych and skipped English 101 altogether. …this movie is every coming-of-age romance movie rolled into one messy package…
Kimber Myers, Los Angeles Times
…it looks fairly safe to say there won’t be any more Afters after this “After.” … [1/5]
Leigh Paatsch, Herald Sun (Australia)