"After We Collided" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
"After", the "worldwide phenomenon" that started as a Wattpad fan-fiction about pop superstar Harry Styles, in an interesting film. I have read all of the books in this series before watching the films, and the first movie simply didn't do the book justice. This is not to say that the books are great or revolutionary, but the movie adaptation plays it way too safe, opting for a less-explicit version of the tale to garner the attention of younger teenage audiences. However, when author Anna Todd saw the backlash the film created due to its playing-it-safe strategy, she promised an even steamier sequel that would stay true to her novels. While the second film, "After We Collided", is definitely steamier and more explicit, the film just contains way more flaws and cheesy acting performances compared to its predecessor.
This movie opens up right after the ending of the first one, where it was reveled that Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) took Tessa's (Josephine Langford) virginity for a stupid bet, even though he had actually fallen in love with her in the process. Now that she has left him and he feels lost for the first time in years, Hardin must now find a way to win back the love of his life and never lose her again.
Tessa, on the other hand, just started an internship at one of the biggest publishing house, Vance Publishing, which is ran by an old family friend of Hardin's. She then meets Trevor (Dylan Sprouse), who likes Tessa more than he is letting on. She is now trying to juggle school and her new internship when Hardin enters her life once again, making her choose between giving him one more chance or to not forgive him for the inexcusable thing he did to her.
This film definitely doesn't hold back in terms of the R-rating. There is excessive cursing at times and the sex scenes are much more steamier and graphic. I actually appreciate this because this is how the books were written. The first movie seemed like it was holding too much back, trying to be somewhat family-friendly to sell more tickets. But this movie seems like it was actually made for the fans of the franchise, even if they lost on ticket sells because of the adult rating; this is something I actually appreciate from this film.
However, when it comes to quality, it seems so much less here. There are numerous shots and scenes that literally feel like a television movie you would see on Lifetime, rather than an actual feature length film. I'm not sure if it is the cinematography or how cheap this entire movie feels, but it seems so uncompleted and dare I say, half-ass? This movie definitely can't figure out what it wants to be, and it shows throughout the entire runtime.
Also, unfortunately, the performances here are way worse than what were given in the film prior. Fiennes Tiffin and Langford seem like they totally forgotten how to give a believable performance, and are forced to act out cringey scenes that make the audience laugh more than feel their pain. I am especially disappointed with the performance from Fiennes Tiffin, as I feel like he is just trying way too hard here. I am nearly positive it is due to the direction since Fiennes Tiffin is a great up-and-coming actor, but it simply doesn't work here. The same can also be said for Sprouse, who is a decent actor. He has made that known for playing the lovable goofball Zack Martin in a couple of Disney Channel shows growing up. But here, it seems like they just hired a random guy off the street to read a couple of lines to the best of his ability.
While the first movie was generic and bland at times, it actually had important events happening most of the time; the same can't be said for this film. There are only a few certain plot details that are actually interesting and engage the viewer, but a lot of it is simply boring and random. It seems like almost nothing really happens and the plot just sort of seems all over the place at times. They are just trying to muddle their way through the movie to the end, even though the book actually has a lot of details the film could have taken from.
I do appreciate the more adult-rating and content as this is what the books are known for, but the movie just doesn't land the mark other than that. The acting and story are bad, the film seems very cheap, and it simply just doesn't engage the viewer that much. I think this is very unfortunate as they had a big chance to make this movie in a way for their fans to love, and I would think they genuinely let them down.