Probably negative reviews

‘After’ lacks redeemable qualities

Sam Johnson

More stories from Sam Johnson

The Tator
December 13, 2022

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The main characters in “After.” I am struggling to find positive things to say about this movie.

Movies adapted from books are often disappointing. This is often the case with series or novels that are really good. Unfortunately, “After” is one of the most severely disappointing cases.

Disappointment might be the wrong word, given that I have no interest in the book. From the moment I began reading the Netflix description, I was preparing for the worst, which is precisely what I got.

“After” stars Tessa Young, played by Josephine Langford, a sheltered first-year college student who almost instantly begins her school year by doing all that college students are known for: drinking, going to parties and befriending people she likely never would have associated with before.

That includes Hardin Scott, the “bad boy,” played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, who becomes Young’s love interest.

I am struggling to find positive things to say about this movie. In just about all aspects — aesthetically, plot-wise and otherwise — I was unimpressed. 

The story was bland, generic and cliché. The nice girl falls for the bad boy, her mom disapproves, they go through a rough patch because it turns out the only reason Scott was with Young was because of a dare, but Scott writes an essay to her so he is forgiven. 

The commonly used trope of the fake relationship that makes up the plot is seen in other movies such as “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” “10 Things I Hate About You” and “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

The first occurrence of this narrative is in Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.”

It could be considered unfair or cynical to call the plot of a movie old and regurgitated. Yet, in this case, it is close to 200 years older than the United States of America, so I think it is fair.

The characters were my biggest problem. Every character was a very generic “type” of college student. 

Young was the studious, conservative and innocent newcomer with the boyfriend back home. Scott is the “bad boy” of the story.His flock of hipster friends drink, wear dark colors and have septum piercings, which, in this movie, makes them shady.

I have serious issues with Scott’s character. He is not a bad boy, he is just a pretentious English major with a British accent, tattoos and black t-shirts. His dad is the chancellor of the school and he lives in a mansion. Just because he drives an old muscle car and pushed a guy once does not make him edgy. 

Scott reads classical romance novels. I have met some pretty bad boys and none of them had read “Pride and Prejudice.”

Other than the recycled plot, the idiotically generic characters and the most harmless and least intimidating “bad boy” character in cinematic history. 

One of the most frustrating parts of the film was the complete and utter lack of character development and plot furtherment.

I barely knew half the character’s names, much less cared about them, before the plot was in full swing. 

The rising action of the film was rushed through with incredible speed and lack of detail. 

Before I knew it, Scott and Young had moved in together. What felt like dozens of love scenes that were way too pornographic for a PG-13 movie, were aggressively thrown in my face.

Apparently a sequel is in the works — which I can confidently say — I am not looking forward to watching and reviewing.

Johnson can be reached at [email protected].