Aftersun (2022)

A heartwarming film about father - daughter relationship in today's chaotic world.

8/3/20233 min read

Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio in 'Aftersun'
Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio in 'Aftersun'

UK, US, 102 minutes, 2022

Director : Charlotte Wells

Cast: Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio, Celia Rowlson Hall

Awards : Cannes Film Festival French Touch Prize of Critics’ week Jury,2022; British Independent Film Award for Director, 2022; BAFTA-Outstanding debut by British Director; New York Film Critics’ circle- Best first film; Independent Spirit awards, Winner: Best First Feature, 2023; Oscar Awards, 2023: Nominated for best performance by an actor in lead role.

Aftersun explores the relationship between an eleven year old daughter and her thirty something young father who is amicably separated from her mother, on their trip to Turkey. The duo records the moments from their trip using a small MiniDV camera, which later serves as a strong connection between adult Sophie and her father, although the grown up Sophie is shown very briefly.

The bond between growing up Sophie (Frankie Corio) and her father Calum (Paul Mescal) is felt all through the film as the father daughter pair roams the Turkish Market, carpet shop to be precise, mud baths and take part in a few activities organized by the resort. Calum seems struggling with his life and career since he confesses to a diving instructor that he is already thirty and will be surprised that he makes till forty. He is caring of his daughter and urges her to keep communicating with him freely about anything-the conversation which happens when Sophie tells her father that last night she kissed a boy. The last dancing sequence where we see daughter hugging her father tightly does capture the essence of that strong lingering bond.

Paul Mescal delivers a measured performance which earned his nomination for best actor at the Academy Awards, 2023 and Frankie Corio stuns as young 11 year old Sophie. The performance is superb and does not look as her debut film at all. She smoothly traverses between scenes with impeccable ease like seasoned performer. If she maintains her focus, this young girl will go places as an adult actor. No wonder she won Critics choice (American Canadian Critics Choice Association) and British Independent film awards and was nominated for numerous’ young achiever’ awards in various film awards.

Special mention must be made for superb sound design by Jovan Ajder, who I am surprised didn’t make it to podium in any festivals or awards. Whether it outdoors, indoors or even the hotel room scenes, he has done a wonderful job of creating perfect atmosphere through sound recording and design which takes scene to just another level.

One of the film's greatest strengths lies in its ability to effortlessly transition between lighthearted and profound moments. The script strikes a delicate balance, allowing for heartfelt moments and contemplative introspection. It gracefully tackles themes of human connection, forgiveness and love.

In conclusion, Aftersun stands as a remarkable achievement by debutant Charlotte Wells, the director, showcasing the immense talent she has. Aftersun is a heartfelt exploration of love, personal growth, and the intricate complexities of human relationships. With its captivating storytelling and poignant performances, Aftersun is an unmissable gem that will leave an indelible mark on the hearts of its viewers.

About the Director, Charlotte Wells

Born in June 1987 in Edinburgh, Charlotte Wells is a Scottish Director. ‘Aftersun’ is her debut film which has garnered many awards and nominations in various film fests across the world. She did her BA from Kings college London and MA from Oxford University. Further she applied to New York University's joint business and film graduate program to become a producer. She completed a dual Master of Fine Arts and Master of Business Administration from Tisch School of Arts and The Sterns School.

Charlotte Wells is an emerging director who has made waves with her distinct creative vision and storytelling prowess. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the human complexities, Wells has crafted Aftersun that explores complex relations and emotions, leaving audiences both captivated and moved.