Aftersun is a breath-taking directorial debut of Charlotte Wells where a father-daughter duet starring Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio develops into a quest for unanswered questions about fatherhood and identity.
Aftersun is Charlotte Wells first feature film as a filmmaker. In the opening scene of 11-year-old Sophie explains to her father Calum (Paul Mescal) that it’s fortunate that they share the “similar sky.” During their week-long holiday in Turkey, Calum and his daughter are both enjoying the weather and Calum is trying to get to know her better. When she says they are connected by the same sky, he inquires about what she means. She explains that it’s a little insight, but it raises a significant issue in the movie Aftersun, currently available on Mubi India, about finding a way back to loved ones. Sophie tells the story as she travels to Turkey with her struggling father, recording her experience on a camcorder despite not receiving the requested hotel room. Despite her father’s distress, she has some influence over him.
We gather that Sophie, who is now an adult, is using her vacation to reflect on what happened on her 11th birthday. Snippets of her dancing by herself in a club reflect her desperate need to talk to her father about what happened. Paul Mescal creates a character with Calum who resembles Connell, the lead in Normal People from 2020, though distantly. We need to be provided with more information about Calum’s past, in contrast to Connell.
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Wells emerges as one of the most intriguing voices to keep an eye out for in this film because of her tremendous empathy and insight. The way you listen to “Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Queen will never be the same.