Run time: 102 mins
Charlotte Wells’s debut feature is a stylistically daring, emotionally piercing and beautifully understated tale of love and loss.
We meet young, separated father Calum (Normal People’s Paul Mescal) and his 11-year-old daughter, Sophie (Frankie Corio) on holiday together in Turkey in the late 1990s. Sophie is smart for her age – she and Calum are sometimes mistaken for siblings – but she’s still also very much a child, torn between hanging out with the younger kids at the resort or with the teenagers who lounge around the pool table.
The only way to understand memory, in any meaningful way, is perhaps on personal terms, through feeling. And here, Wells has funnelled some element of autobiography into a story of her own precise crafting, via a rose-tinted snapshot of the past.
Aftersun is akin to popping in an old home VHS you’ve long forgotten. It’s about childhood memories being worn to a sheen by being constantly replayed in your mind, about the meanings that were not there then, but are there now, revealed or perhaps created by the remembering mind, and endowed with a new poignancy and grace.