Movie ReviewsAfter – A Lazy YA Romance Film

Keith NoakesApril 15, 201935/100
Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Josephine Langford, Selma Blair
Susan McMartin
Jennifer Gage
PG (Canada), PG-13 (United States)
Running Time
106 minutes
Release Date
April 12th, 2019
Overall Score
Rating Summary
After is yet another YA romance film that continues the same tired formula used in countless other films. The familiarity of watching more good-looking people on screen may be enough for some but the lazy, shallow, and predictable, cliche-ridden story make this a dull watch for anyone else.

YA romance novels have a limited fan base but their fans are generally incredibly loyal. This loyalty is why they continue to be adapted into feature films. After so many films, their formula has become quite similar, almost feeling like they are molded together in the same film. The consensus seems to be if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it which is one of the main reasons why these films are so similar. Suffice it to say that After, based on the series of books by Anna Todd, is no different. With this comes the usual pitfalls but none of this should come as much of a surprise to anyone as this formula, fortunately or not, is what keeps viewers coming back for more.

Put just about every YA trope and a little bit of Fifty Shades of Grey and you pretty much have the story. Tessa Young (Langford) was a college freshmen and the prototypical wholesome girl. Raised by a single mother named Carol (Blair), she lived a shielded life seemingly pre-planned by her mother. Once she arrived to college, her life and worldviews obviously began to change thanks to a mysterious, intellectual bad boy named Hardin Scott (Tiffin). Their trajectory was inevitable as these polar opposites, at least at the start, would grow closer to one another as Tessa would become infatuated with Hardin’s many so called charms thus putting her future in jeopardy.

Each being young people, the film would serve as coming of age story of sorts for Tessa and Hardin but it was hard to care about either of them which should be the bare minimum for these types of films. The predictable story along with their shallowness worked together to make this a dull watch for the most part. All the characters went through the paces as none of Tessa and Hardin’s relationship felt real at any point. Everything about it seemed manufactured and fake, bordering on creepy and lacking any tension whatsoever. Meanwhile, the teen soap opera type melodrama along with the sanitized interpretation of college life and moments of cheesy dialog connecting it all together were laughable and eyeroll-inducing at best.

Boasting mediocre material and lazy direction, the mediocre acting should not come as that much of a surprise. The main relationship that was meant to be the focus of the story may not have been believable but Langford and Tiffin were okay as Tessa and Hardin respectively. However, both of their wooden performances would cause each to fail at making us care for their characters as they went through the paces. Granted Langford had the closest thing to an actual arc though its derivative nature didn’t do her any favors. Tiffin can brood and while that may be enough for some, that was pretty much all he was good at.

Ultimately, if you are a fan of these types of films, you’ll have surely already seen it by now and if you’re not, After won’t change your mind.

*still courtesy of VVS Films*

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