“After” doesn’t do the all-consuming love story justice

Cristina Gonzalez/Staff Writer


If you walk into the theater with the preconceived notion that the film adaption of After is going to mirror Anna Todd’s novel, you’re going to leave disappointed.

The novel, originally a fanfiction story on Wattpad, follows the life of Tessa Young, a young and sweet girl who is leaving home for the first time. The story centers around her transition into college life and her relationship with Hardin Scott, the complicated yet charming boy whose own past and mental turmoil make his character struggle until he meets Tessa that is.

To avoid romanticizing emotional abuse and toxic relationships, the creators of the film altered Hardin’s behavior and removed pivotal scenes from the story altogether. Now, while I agree that films shouldn’t glamorize toxicity, this story is not solely about an abusive relationship.

Throughout the novel, we get to see Hardin’s character development- an element that made the storyline so powerful. His character makes an effort to control his temper for Tessa’s sake; he loves her enough to change for the better and that’s why you end up falling in love with his character, despite what readers know about him. The whole character development was an extremely slow and painstaking process for readers who wanted the best for both characters, but it was a necessary process. The story simply does not work without it. This is what the producers of the film failed to understand.

The film didn’t any include any of the necessary build up or character development that viewers needed. From the opening scene all the way to the credits, the film felt extremely rushed. The scenes felt like tiny bits of the story mashed together with no explanation; it felt as if the film wasn’t fully developed. I understand that it’s impossible to fit everything into a two-hour film, however, the way producers took too much away from the storyline. If you didn’t read the book, you were most likely sitting in the theater confused and left feeling like you watched a cliche film with missing pieces.

What saved this film for me were the actors. Most of the actors, including Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes-Tiffin were fresh faces. It was refreshing to not recognize who they were. Tiffin and Langford were exactly how I visualized their characters beings; I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing their roles. Their undeniable chemistry and heartfelt performances kept this film alive.

One of the biggest issues with this film was the rating. The movie should have never been rated PG-13. It should have been rated R. It wasn’t given the proper rating because the film took away all the aspects from the original series. It’s not about all the sex scenes that were removed, this isn’t 50 shades of gray, it’s about the endless chemistry and lust that was never portrayed. Due to the absence of scenes and the rating, it was easy for viewers to see the movie as yet another romance film and nothing more.

Books of this nature should never be adapted into a film unless you’re going to do it justice. This film failed to do the characters and their story, justice. It was an utterly hectic and beautiful love story that needed to be told properly. The appeal that the After series had and what separated it from most romance-drama stories, was the dark and consuming nature of the series; the movie adaption lost that.

Despite this, if you decide to watch After go with an open mind. Don’t come in with any expectations or comparisons to the novel. Try to appreciate the story being told in the film and appreciate all the cliche moments we sometimes find ourselves wishing for.


Featured photo was taken from the After movie Facebook.

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