Out this week is Aftersun. Starring Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio play a young parent and his child as they go on a holiday to reconnect after some time apart.
Aftersun is a beautiful and tragic film. Watching Callum and his daughter Sophie have fun in this film while there is clearly a shadow hanging over them is a tense experience. This mainly comes from the performance of Paul Mescal. He is incredible as the troubled Callum. He is putting on a brave front for his daughter. As the film progresses though you begin to understand that there is a sadness behind Callum’s eyes.
Not to be outmatched is Sophie (played by first-timer Frankie Corio). Corio is stellar as a clearly intelligent young girl heading into adolescence. She brings a lot of maturity to a role that easily could have across as simply precocious. She is an emotional anchor for her father and as the film goes on you understand how important she is to him.
Don’t you ever feel tired?
As the film is framed as an older Sophie looking back at this particular holiday on her birthday to try and understand her father you can tell that her father’s story likely did not have a happy ending. It is in his vernacular. How he speaks about people around him as well as how he feels. He worries for Sophie as she seems to echo some of his thoughts in certain scenes. One particular scene seems to trouble him deeply when she articulates how she feels down sometimes. She is tired in her bones. This is not something that an eleven-year-old should be thinking about.
Knowing that this film is set in the 90s immediately lets you know the views on mental health around the world and how so many secretly suffered. It’s a powerful story with compelling characters. They are all too familiar and can and likely will bring many to tears. As someone with a complex relationship with his parents, I found this film tough. The relationship between parent and child can be complex and seeing someone struggle to try and figure it out humanises the mantle of a parent for me.
There is honestly nothing negative to be said about Aftersun. Director Charlotte Wells pours a lot of herself into this film. She tells a compelling and bittersweet story between father and child.
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