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Aftersun
An enjoyable father-daughter drama, which may require more than one viewing to understand.

Aftersun

Synopsis:
Sophie reflects on the shared joy and private melancholy of a holiday she took with her father twenty years earlier. Memories real and imagined fill the gaps between as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t.
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A father and daughter go on a vacation together in Turkey in . Calum () is a 30-year-old separated man who goes on a holiday in Turkey with his 11-year-old daughter Sophie (). The two cherish their time together, even though there is something off about Calum's behaviour. Many years later, an Adult Sophie () reminisces about this period in her life.

Aftersun Synopsis

Aftersun is the debut feature film from Scottish writer/director Charlotte Wells. On the eve of his 31st birthday, Calum goes on vacation with his daughter Sophie, whom he hardly sees after splitting from her mother and moving from Edinburgh to England. Their vacation at this Turkish resort is a time for father and daughter to bond with each other. However, it seems like Calum is going through some issues that Sophie doesn't fully understand. It is soon revealed that the plot is told from the perspective of Sophie as an adult thinking back to this period of her life.

My Thoughts on Aftersun

Aftersun is an enjoyable father-daughter drama, but it is a film that might require multiple viewings to understand fully. Part of the reasoning for this comes from the revelation that most of the plot is structured as a flashback and some abstract elements, such as Calum being repeatedly seen dancing in a rave. However, one aspect of Aftersun's story that becomes apparent is that despite appearing happy for his daughter, Calum seems to be undergoing a doubt of depression throughout this vacation.

Probably one of the key and most memorable moments of Aftersun involves Calum and Sophie dancing to Queen and 's “Under Pressure.” There is a lot to unravel in this climatic moment of the film, though it is likely key to understanding the story Charlotte Wells is trying to tell. Probably the closest film I can think of in comparison to Aftersun would be Sofia Coppola's 2010 drama Somewhere, which has a similar story of father-daughter bonding.

There has been a lot of praise given to Aftersun, including being the leading winner of the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards, which finally led me to give Aftersun a watch. While I liked the film, I probably don't share the same level of praise. Aftersun is a film I recommend seeing, even if I believe most of the thoughts on the film to be somewhat hyperbolic.

Trailer for Aftersun

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How to Watch Aftersun

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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