This film was previously reviewed in October 2022 as part of our Toronto International Film Festival coverage.

Charlotte Wells’ Aftersun introduces us to Sophie (Celia Rowlson-Hall/Frankie Corio), who’s reflecting on a holiday she took with her father, Calum (Paul Mescal), years earlier, forced to reconcile with the two versions of him: the man she thought she knew and the man she didn’t know at all.

Every so often, there comes along a film that’s truly unlike anything else, and from the opening scene, it’s apparent that Aftersun is destined to be one of the greats. We witness fragments of this story through flashbacks and DV footage and at times, it’s difficult to discern what’s on screen, images blurred and abstract, perfectly reminiscent of the way our memories work. This puts us right there in Sophie’s shoes as she thinks back on this trip with her father. As she pieces together the days they spent with each other, so do we, allowing us to actively be a part of the film, which makes this viewing experience even more immersive. 

Wells provides us with Sophie’s limited point of view by focusing on the dreamy sights and sounds, lingering in moments of curiosity where Calum is obscured by darkness or only showing us a view of him from behind whenever he’s upset. By hiding certain details from us, we’re reminded of how beautifully confounding it is to be a child. Corio and Mescal have such great chemistry together, one that feels just like a real father and daughter relationship and the love and respect they have for one another both on and off screen is apparent. 

Aftersun will bury underneath your skin without you even being aware of it until the finale. Wells demonstrates an impressive ability to show restraint which isn’t common in debut films, and shows her deep understanding not just of the craft but of what she wants to say.



CAST: Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio, Celia Rowlson-Hall

DIRECTOR: Charlotte Wells

WRITER: Charlotte Wells

SYNOPSIS: Sophie recalls a holiday she took with her father twenty years earlier.