After We Fell (2021)

dir. Castille Landon

One begrudging point of credit must go to After We Fell: it’s marginally less annoying than its predecessors After and After We Collided. Sure, our star-crossed lovers Tessa and Hardin still don’t seem to have worked out that deceit, sexual manipulation and aggression aren’t the healthiest foundation for a relationship. And sure, the After series continues its tradition of a gamut of weak supporting characters who change their desires and motivations almost by the minute to suit the plot. And yes, After We Collided still boasts some of the most tepid, the most awkward, the most downright dispassionate sex scenes ever committed to film. Yet, there are some vague glimpses of suggestions of possibilities of a silver lining. For example, Tessa and Hardin spend much of the film apart, and actually manage to grow as human beings as a result (it’s a shame they don’t realise this and part ways permanently, but it’s a step). And for once, the crux of the movie isn’t about Tessa and Hardin bickering; while a good portion of the runtime is spent on this pattern, it’s eventually ditched in favour of Hardin’s family’s histrionics. For the first time, for a split-second, the couple actually seem honest and supportive. Sure, it doesn’t last – and it’s all but guaranteed not to last beyond the realms of convoluted plot armour in the upcoming sequel, the hideously named After Ever Happy – but even those brief moments grant some weak respite compared to the rest of this sorry franchise.

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