A father and daughter go on a vacation together in Turkey in Aftersun. Calum (Paul Mescal) is a 30-year-old separated man who goes on a holiday in Turkey with his 11-year-old daughter Sophie (Frankie Corio). The two cherish their time together, even though there is something off about Calum's behaviour. Many years later, an Adult Sophie (Celia Rowlson-Hall) reminisces about this period in her life.
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 David Bowie'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.