The Reel Review


A newly divorced father and his puberty-approaching 11-year-old daughter spend a week at a fading vacation resort in Turkey, capturing the highs and lows of their memorable holiday trip via camcorder, in this unconventional drama starring Paul Mescal (Normal People) and newcomer Frankie Corio.

Frankie Corio and Paul Mescal in Aftersun

In her debut feature film, Scottish writer/director Charlotte Wells paints a masterfully unassuming and thought-provoking tale of grief that will be particularly impactful to anyone who has lost a parent as a child and wondered what that parent would have been like had the child gotten to know him or her in adulthood. A feeling of impending doom washes over every frame of this melancholic film. Mescal, as the sad but amicably divorced Calum, is struggling with anxiety and depression, noticed but not really understood by an exceptional Frankie Corio as his young daughter Sophie. The two actors have such an easy rapport it is easy to forget you are watching a movie.

Paul Mescal in Aftersun

Twenty years later, we see an adult Sophie watching the videotapes of that trip just as she turns 31, the same birthday her father had celebrated on their final trip together. Moviegoers looking for a more straightforward story will likely be frustrated that the subtle, very slow-moving film doesn’t reveal all the details of what happened to him, but for those with the patience, Aftersun is a haunting portrait of individuals lost before they could truly be understood by those who loved them.


• Writer/director Charlotte Wells says she based the fictitious story on memories she had of her own relationship with her father.

Frankie Corio, Paul Mescal and Charlotte Wells at the Edinburgh Film Festival in August 2022.

• Frankie Corio edged out 800 applicants to win the role of Sophie, spending two weeks with Mescal at a hotel resort just prior to filming in Fethiye, Turkey, to form a more convincing father-daughter bond.

• In the film, the rug purchased by Calum while on that holiday in Turkey can be seen in the now-adult Sophie’s flat.


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