Opening 25 Aug 2022
Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) learns a family secret: Ken Scott (Rob Estes) is not his real father. Tessa’s (Josephine Langford) father is separated from her mother and an alcoholic; he dies. Besides problems with fathers, another experience that Tessa and Hardin have in common is that they are lovers. And so, they spend two film hours evaluating their relationship, when not snuggling and kissing. Perhaps some kind of temporary separation could be a test. Tessa moves to New York City, where their mutual friend Landon (Chance Perdomo) has rented an apartment. Five months later Hardin shows up, to sleep on their sofa. Is he renewing the relationship? Will there be a child?
Normally, in English we would say “happy ever after”, but author Anna Todd turns it around so that we read it in the opposite direction. The film, however, goes in the conventional direction of two young people in love, dealing with the usual expectations with few surprises. The opening song “We’ve Got Family” sets the subject matter: family, but do we really care about them?
This is director Castille Landon’s second film to be based on a series of four books by Anna Todd. Landon filmed After Love (also titled After We Fell) in 2021. The first in the series, After Passion was filmed by Jenny Gage in 2019 and the second, After Truth (also entitled After We Collided), was filmed by Roger Kumble in 2020. These three films star actors Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes Tiffin, who are now back for the fourth: After Forever. Obviously, there is a large fan community, loyal to this series. For the rest of us, rather than the plot, we can enjoy these actors who have patiently continued with their roles. Excellent, too, is the photography and the choice of locations, which are supposedly London and NYC, although most were filmed in Sofia, Bulgaria. The music of 18 songs carries us along. The film ends with the sentence “To be continued.” So, although the book series ends here, we can expect to continue the story with a fifth film, supposedly entitled After Everything. (Becky Tan)