Aftersun (Charlotte Wells, 2022) wr. Charlotte Wells, dp Gregory Oke; Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio, Celia Rowlson-Hall; 11-year-old Sophie takes a summer vacation to Turkey with her loving and idealistic father, Calum. Twenty years later, she reminisces about the experience and reflects on their relationship – and the parts of him she wasn't able to know.

I made the mistake of reading the reviews below before watching this with the wrong expectations. I thought there was going to be some event, some sort of revelation. I actually thought that the father had killed himself by drowning and went back and watched some of the film again to see what I had missed. ... I hadn't missed anything. Nothing much happens. It's just a father and a daughter on a holiday. It's an ordinary piece of cinema, whatever the critics say.

Charlotte Wells’s dazzling feature debut shades the joy of an 11-year-old’s resort holiday with her father through the prism of her attempts as an adult to piece together his pain.
Leigh Singer:
Wells somehow merges elliptical, near-abstract impressions of an unresolved father-daughter bond with sharp social-realist observation of Brits abroad… She deliberately keeps things open to interpretation, even the exact timeframe of Sophie and Calum’s holiday. By holding her mysteries close, she draws us in closer still. Sight & Sound, December 2022.

On the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, Aftersun holds an approval rating of 96% based on 108 reviews from critics, with an average rating of 8.8/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Led by Frankie Corio's tremendous performance, Aftersun deftly ushers audiences to the intersection between our memories of loved ones and who they really are." Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 95 out of 100 based on 35 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".
New York Times movie critic A.O. Scott described the film as "astonishing and devastating," writing that "Wells, with the unaffected precision of a lyric poet, is very nearly reinventing the language of film, unlocking the medium’s often dormant potential to disclose inner worlds of consciousness and feeling." Screen Daily's Fionnuala Halligan wrote that Wells' "measured but relentless probing ... mark her out as one of the most promising new voices in British cinema in recent years". Guy Lodge of Variety described the film as "sensuous, sharply moving". Carlos Aguilar of The Wrap praised Gregory Oke's "visually fluid" cinematography and thought that it "evokes a radiant melancholia".

In Australia, this was screened at the Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane film festivals. Scheduled for wide release 23 February 2023.
Streaming December 2022 on Amazon Prime Video.

Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 5 November, 2022 | Now: 12 September, 2023