I Watched The Movie “After” so You Don’t Have to

Boy, this movie was quite a trip. Minor spoilers ahead.

So, naturally, I’m the type of girl to love a good, or bad, romantic drama flick. Honesty, the more cringe the better in my opinion. I mean, if I’m not silently clutching my friend’s hand in secondhand embarrassment for on-screen characters, then was it really worth my time?

The movie “After” has a certain history within the book community, as it was originally a published fan fiction piece off of Wattpad. Yes, you read that right, a fan fiction piece off of Wattpad of all places. If you don’t know, Wattpad is where all fangirls go to die essentially. A place where they express their passion for their favorite celebrities. “After” happens to be a fan fiction piece inspired by Harry Styles, however the main love interest in this novel/film is under the named Hardin Scott.

Harry Styles, Hardin Scott…it’s all very intriguing, yes?

“After” was originally written for Wattpad, as the author Anna Todd posted a chapter of this story pretty much daily over the course of a year. It was then re-published by Gallery Books, an extension of Simon & Schuster Publishing, in 2014 and then went on to the big screen after the film was released by Aviron Pictures in April 2019. Crazy.  

 I’ll be honest I never read “After” because even as a young teen myself back in 2014, I was scared off by the absolute scathing reviews on book blogs and platforms such as Goodreads. Also, I wasn’t a Harry Styles fangirl so I was pretty much uninterested. Because of this, essentially the only piece I have merit to critique would be the film version of “After”. So here we go.

My Review

Alright, here’s the tea.

My biggest beef with the “After” movie is that it romanticizes a very toxic relationship, a particular relationship which is of interest to all young One Direction fangirls in their impressionable awkward years.

This movie, in my opinion, just further encourages young girls to feel the need to “fix” boys that may be viewed as the “bad boy type” or that particularly exemplify self-destructive behavior. I mean, Hardin, aka Harry Styles, was always manipulating the emotions of his love interest, Tessa, by pulling her back into the relationship because he “needed her." Like okay, you have daddy issues, we all do dude. Fix yourself, he can't.

I don’t know why in 2019 we are still encouraging young women to be mistreated by boys, and furthermore excusing that mistreatment because of a hard childhood. At one point in the film, Hardin even destroys his own house in a fit of anger, and it’s just glossed over as normal behavior for Hardin because he’s a “rebel” or whatever. Talk about a red flag. At scenes like this, I just wanted to turn around in my seat and tell all these young girls in the theater to run if they ever meet a guy like this.

I mean, when I journeyed my way into the theater to see “After," I saw some pretty young faces and some who even showed up with their parents. This made me very uncomfortable considering the intimate scenes to come. I mean seriously, a girl’s father sat in front of me during the film and I honestly felt the disappointment radiating off of him in waves.

So basically, I was feeling secondhand embarrassment for the on-screen characters, as well as for the tweens in the room because they had to face their parents after the credits ended. Side note: I’m so glad I’m no longer a tween.

Honestly, if you’ve seen this film and liked it, that’s fine. I mean, I’ll probably watch it again just for the laughs, because like I said, I love cringy romantic dramas. However, I just hope and pray that young girls aren’t looking at this fictional relationship as a representation of a healthy couple.

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