After (Movie Review)

Title: After (2019)

Director: Jenny Gage

Novel By: Anna Todd

Screenplay Writer: Tom Betterton, Tamara Chestna, Jenny Gage, and Susan McMartin

Stars: Josephine Langford (Tessa Young), Hero Fiennes Tiffin (Hardin Scott), Khadijha Red Thunder (Steph), and Dylan Arnold (Noah)

Genre(s): Romance/Drama | Runtime: 1 hour 45 minutes | Rating: PG-13

IMDB STORY LINE:

Based on Anna Todd’s novel, AFTER follows Tessa (played by Josephine Langford), a dedicated student, dutiful daughter and loyal girlfriend to her high school sweetheart, Noah (played by Dylan Arnold, as she enters her first semester in college. Armed with grand ambitions for her future, her guarded world opens up when she meets the dark and mysterious Hardin Scott (played by Hero Fiennes Tiffin), a magnetic, brooding rebel who makes her question all she thought she knew about herself and what she wants out of life. ~ Written by Aviron Pictures

Background:

Ok, lets start by pointing out that this film is based on the book AFTER by Anna Todd, who posted the first chapters of the novel on Wattpad, a free online storytelling community. The original story is said to have been based on Harry Styles and Zayn Malik from One Direction, but they were portrayed as students at Washington State University.

When her readership quickly grew passed 500 million readers on Wattpad, Anna landed herself a publishing deal and the novel was published in 2014. Paramount Pictures then acquired the rights, later returning them to Anna Todd because she wanted more freedom when it came to adapting the film. Eventually the rights were sold to Aviron and the movie was released in April of 2019.

As an author myself, I would love to have one of my books take off like this. It’s a writer’s dream come true. We’ve seen it with other fan fiction novels like the Twilight Series, the 50 Shades of Grey Series (which was actually Twilight Fan Fiction), and now AFTER just to name a few.

There is a lot of negative talk about Wattpad, and I personally have never used it because I prefer my old-school Microsoft Word, so I can’t speak to my personal experience. However, aside from AFTER, there have been a number of novels and movies that got their start on Wattpad. Most recently; The Kissing Booth (a Netflix movie) and Light as a Feather (a Hulu Series based on the Wattpad story, Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board). So, mock it all you want, but authors are being read and making things happen.

Now let’s talk about the movie… That’s why we are here, right?

SHOW RATING OVERVIEW ★★★ (3 Stars)
Writing/Story: ★★★  |  Cinematography:  ★★★  |  Character(s)/Acting: ★★★

Writing/Story: ★★★

I haven’t read the book but, if for no other reason than to see how true to the book the movie was, I feel like I need to read it. I didn’t think the writing was bad, it was a typical college coming of age movie. It was extremely predictable and, in that sense, written in a way that most people could find at least one character to relate to. Having gone to college right out of high school, I had at least one friend that fit into each of the character molds that Anna Todd created. There were no real plot twists or surprises. The one potential twist was set up with two in-your-face foreshadowing moments. (Spoiler Alert “It was all a lie.”)

Cinematography ★★★

There are some pretty shots in this film, but the cinematography is nothing to write home about.

Character(s)/Acting: ★★★

I’ll admit the acting isn’t that great. I’m not sure if it was the director’s choice or the actors’ choices, but the long “dramatic” pauses between almost every sentence made the movie drag. I did enjoy the relationship building between Tessa and Hardin as well as between Tessa and Landon. However, I hope that there was more buildup between Tessa and Landon in the book. Landon seems like such a minor character in the movie that as a viewer, we don’t really care about him. I would imagine that in the book there is a stronger friendship between Tessa and Landon, giving us a reason to root for him. It feels like the potential for Team Noah vs. Team Hardin vs. Team Landon was there, but the movie just never made us care enough about any of the male characters (aside from Hardin) to get there. I’m hoping the book does a better job.

FUN FACT:

The copy of Wuthering Heights that we see in Hardin’s bedroom is actually the copy that author Anna Todd has had since she was a teenager.

MY FAVORITE QUOTES:

“My life before him was so simple and decided, now after him…It’s just…After.”

I think most people can relate to this quote in one way or another. We all have a moment in our life that seems to change everything. We plan… we dream… we decide our future. Then, one day, something changes. Someone comes along or something happens that completely turns our world upside down and our plans fall through, our dreams fade away, and our future which was once so clear becomes uncertain.

TO SUM IT UP:

Despite the fact that I’ve seen and read a number of reviews that completely trashed this film, I have definitely seen worse. I didn’t hate it. I enjoyed it for what it was, mindless entertainment… a chance to watch the good girl fall for the bad boy in hopes of changing him. I know, when I was young and stupid, I tried to change a few bad boys too. Trust me, in real life, it never works.

I will say this though, the demographic this film is geared toward – young teenage girls – seem highly inappropriate. There isn’t a lot of overly sexual content in this film, but I have seen previews for the sequel and it definitely steps up the sexual content a few notches. So, all the 13 and 14-year-old girls who feel in love with Hardin Scott in the first film are going to really be exposed to more-than-necessary sexual content when they hide away in their bedrooms watching movie number two. On top of that, this movie also makes light of underage drinking, smoking, and use of e-cigarettes, etc.

TELL ME WHAT YOU THOUGHT!!!

Have you seen AFTER? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If not, I recommend seeing it for yourself and forming your own opinion. Have you read the book? If so, let me know if I should read it!


Click on the individual book covers below to read more about these titles by Anna Todd!

THE AFTER SERIES

THE LANDON SERIES


ANNA TODD (Author/Writer/Producer) is the New York Times bestselling author of the After series of books, The Spring Girls, and the recent The Brightest Stars.

Always an avid reader, Todd began writing stories on her phone on Wattpad, the reading and writing multiplatform for original stories, with After becoming its most-read series with over 1.5 billion reads.

The print edition of After was published in 2014 by Simon & Schuster and has since been released in over 30 languages with more than 11 million copies sold worldwide. After has been a #1 bestseller across the globe including Italy, Germany, France and Spain. She has since written eight additional novels and serves as a producer and screenwriter on the upcoming film adaptation of After We Collided, the sequel to After.

Todd has been hailed by Cosmopolitan as “the biggest literary phenomenon of her generation.” A native of Ohio Anna, her husband and son currently live in Los Angeles.

Find her at AnnaTodd.com, on Twitter at @AnnaTodd, on Instagram at @AnnaTodd, and on Wattpad as Imaginator1D.

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