Review: After We Fell (2021)

After We Fell (2021)

Directed by: Castille Landon | 98 minutes | drama, romance | Actors: Josephine Langford, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Louise Lombard, Chance Perdomo, Rob Estes, Arielle Kebbel, Stephen Moyer, Mira Sorvino, Frances Turner, Kiana Madeira, Carter Jenkins

‘After We Fell’ is the third installment in the ‘After’ franchise, based on Anna Todd’s popular young-adult novels. For those unfamiliar with the series, a small introduction: Anna Todd was originally a fanfiction writer and based her stories on Harry Styles from boy band One Direction. She published these on Wattpad and generated such success that the books were not just published; its film rights were also sold. While that sounds like a dream come true to many budding writers, jealousy isn’t quite out of place. In terms of quality, the “After” book series really isn’t much. It was written for a fairly select audience, which does not yet make many demands on the emotional development of novel characters or simply on good writing. The film series has suffered the same fate so far.

After the cliffhanger of ‘After We Collided’ – the bum Hardin previously watched turns out to be Tessa’s alcoholic father whom she hasn’t seen in ten years – ‘After We Fell’ continues straight away. Tessa’s father Richard tries to get closer and although Hardin has his reservations, Tessa agrees. Meanwhile, we also know that Tessa said “yes” to the job publisher Vance offered her, but which will require a move to Seattle. It is a turbulent period to say the least, with events that cause tension for any normal functioning person, but this regularly causes short circuits for the mentally unhealthy Hardin and Tessa.

The scenario of ‘After We Fell’ has no tension and the characters do not go through any development. They go from arguing to making amends (don’t forget the make-up sex) and make promises that things will get better in the future, but they always fall into the old trap of not communicating (properly) and arguing about nothing. Josephine Langford (Tessa) and Hero Fiennes Tiffin (Hardin) do what they can with the screenplay, but are mainly eye candy for the teenage audience. What is even more confusing in this film is that a number of supporting roles in this film are played by other actors. Vance’s girlfriend Kimberly is now played by Arielle Kebbel instead of Candice King and Landon is now Chance Perdomo instead of Shane Paul McGhie. Selma Blair as Tessa’s mother has also been replaced by Mira Sorvino in a tiny part.

‘After We Fell’ looks neat and slick, with beautiful people in expensive clothes and ditto cars. It easily looks away, but doesn’t last for a moment. The image that is sketched of these young people is unrealistic (which young student has so many different sexy dresses, money for a car and an apartment that many people in their forties still dream of?), but for the young target group that is perhaps a conscious escape from the reality. How it goes with Tessa and Hardin we see in ‘After Ever Happy’ (2022).

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