After Movie Review: A rather insipid romance

Updated: May 03, 2019, 15:46 IST | Johnson Thomas |

The narrative of After basically takes us through three major events in the lives of its protagonists Tessa Young (Josephine Langford) and Hardin Scott ( Hero Fiennes Tiffin)

U/A: Drama, Romance

Cast: Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Josephine Langford, Selma Blair, Jennifer Beals, Peter Gallagher
Director: Jenny Cage

This romance, adapted from the first book in Anna Todd's series of novels, is as hackneyed and clichéd as they come -with nothing worthwhile to recommend it other than the engaging presence of Josephine Langford who looks like a younger version of Alicia Silverstone. The narrative basically takes us through three major events in the lives of its protagonists Tessa Young (Josephine Langford) and Hardin Scott ( Hero Fiennes Tiffin).

"After" opens with a narrator impinging on us about how certain moments in life seem to define a person and moves on to tell us how Tessa, a naïve, inexperienced young woman from the suburbs meets up with Hardin, a lonesome, rebellious guy with a bad-boy attitude and image. She is persuaded by her roomie to go for a party, ends up playing Truth or Dare, get's tricked into falling in love and losing her virginity and as expected goes on to experience the real thing. The romance is so dead-weight here that you could well fall asleep and still feel like you've seen it all when you wake up. The characters are neither interesting nor attractive enough to garner empathy. They are basically stereotypes worn thinly by performers who fit in with the current 'One Direction' trend of looks and persona most attractive to a teen demographic.

The story has Tessa going off to college, accompanied by her mother Carol (Selma Blair) and boyfriend Noah (Dylan Arnold). He of course looks and behaves like a brother so the audience won't be riled by her swiftly falling in love with Hardin who shares a similar love for classics like Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights. They even bicker about the two tomes with screenwriter Susan McMartin forcing an unlikely comparison between their romance and that heralded within the two classics.

There's neither conviction in Jenny Cage's telling nor is there any affect. The performances are as wispy and unriveting as the writing. The lack of a cogent story, the absence of definitive moments and the sheer predictability of this set-up is totally galling. The premise was supposedly about a young woman falling for a guy with a dark secret with the two thereafter embarking on a rocky relationship – but as an audience we never get to feel any of that. The two characters go through the motions without garnering any affect. This is the kind of book-to-cinema adaptation that is more likely to ensure that it's targeted demographic of teens stick to the reading the written word!

Watch After Trailer

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