Starring: Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio, and Celia Rowlson-Hall
Director: Charlotte Wells
It’s a softer landing than one might expect from an A24 project, but Charlotte Wells nonetheless impresses with her directorial debut in Aftersun. Featuring a Paul Mescal performance that is equal parts charming and heartbreaking, as well as a stunning supporting turn from Frankie Corio, the movie’s themes of mental illness and its many claws ring quiet but crystal clear. Wells’ script is delicate, able to balance on a needle-width thread without ever needing to veer into emotional manipulation or away from realism. It's a truly moving film that only gets better the more one thinks on its many strengths.
Let me start off by saying that this film won’t work for everyone. It is very slow and requires tons of critical thinking. Personally, though? I was engrossed by Aftersun, a film that explores the way we view our parents and addresses depression in a truly unique and accurate way. Paul Mescal is fantastic, and Frankie Corio is an absolute revelation in a film that is made with such nuance and empathy that it shattered my heart by the end. I implore everybody to give this film a chance.
A24 has flourished this year by producing some amazing gems, and I’m glad to say Aftersun is no different. A stellar directorial debut from Charlotte Wells, the film is anchored by the charming performances of Paul Mescal and its young rising star, Frankie Corio. Overall, it’s a beautifully heartfelt film about the passage of time through the lens of a father/daughter relationship, further diving into the desire to preserve shared memories. For that, this film is so precious in my mind, and it was one of my favorite films coming out of the NYFF.
This film was reviewed by Adriano as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, as well as by Jacob and Paige as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of the 2022 New York Film Festival.