"After We Fell" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
We're two movies down in the "After" franchise, and it seems like they are simply uninspired when it comes to the third film, "After We Fell". Like I have mentioned before, I have read all of these novels, and I think the third installment has some of the wildest and most intense scenes in the series. Yet, the film decides to abandon all of them, presenting a dull, boring film that seems more like a filler entry than anything. Nothing new happens here, nothing big or important happens, and the characters just fight and have sex for the entire runtime. If this is what cinema for teenagers has come to, I am very concerned about this next generation and what movies will come from them.
It's difficult to even write a synopsis about this film because it doesn't really follow one single storyline. This entire movie just feels like an array of events stringed together to produce a motion picture. We have them going on a vacation with Hardin's (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) parents, Tessa (Josephine Langford) moving to Seattle to pursue her internship in publishing, Hardin and Tessa fighting over the most ridiculous, childish reasons and then make up by simply having sex, etc. This simply isn't a movie, but rather an attraction for a bunch of horny teenagers. If I was author Anna Todd, I would be incredibly embarrassed of this film as they seem to just ignore everything she has created and release a rough skeleton of the plot she crafted.
I think this movie could have worked slightly better if the acting and writing for the dialogue was actually interesting or good. Fiennes Tiffin and Langford are just poorly directed, with no real guidance in how they want them to take the roles. They are just kind of floundering, making Tessa seem like a whore and irresponsible and Hardin like a whiny boy who is just simply brooding and annoying. There is honestly no redeeming quality for either of our main protagonists here, and the film seems very uninterested in wanting to provide them actual storylines.
What's incredibly interesting to me is how boring and dull this film is when the novel is very eventful. I mean, let's look at the glaring fact that Tessa was literally sexually assaulted and betrayed by some of her closest friends? They want to leave out all of those details and present a film that is more concerned with having our characters drink and fight and have sex. They don't want to get into the nitty gritty of human feelings or these terrible acts that take place throughout the novel. In fact, I think they might have saved themselves not including these scenes and aspects as they have demonstrated they can't portray human emotions on screen. Consider how they use pop songs to show how a character is feeling because the actor literally can't convey those feelings on their own acting merit.
If this film was just an exercise in seeing how many abusive scenes and elements they could get into a film as possible, well this movie takes the top prize. Instead of a plot, the filmmakers just decide to have our main characters fight as much as possible, becoming a giant annoyance throughout the movie. When watching, you can't help but roll your eyes every time they fight for the most ridiculous reasons. They will get into such heated fights, which causes them to go and do things they know they will regret simply because they don't have communication skills. Then, the film thinks it can redeem our characters and rectify any situations between them just because they have sex after every argument. It simply doesn't work, and is a very sad excuse for a film.
Towards the end of this film, we actually get a pretty interesting storyline involving Hardin's mom (Louise Lombard) that I think is pretty interesting. However, I think we owe this part to Todd, who crafted this much better in her novel than the film did. When we really get into it though, they just prove how incapable they are of making this into a film. The acting is way too over-the-top, and the writing is gimmicky. They want us to believe in this storyline and see how it actually affects the characters involved, but they simply don't have the necessary parts to make it work.
It's not shocking this film is no good, but I am shocked about how bad it simply is. It doesn't try to be good or improve on any of the mistakes they have made, and simply just made this film for solely monetary reasons. It's insulting honestly to the craft of filmmaking to make something just to gain a profit, wasting the talent and potential of everyone involved. This film should have never existed, or if it was destined to be released, at least they could have tried a lot harder. What we received is a horrible addition to an already floundering franchise, one that may simply never be redeemed.