Aftersun Melancholic Movie Recommendation Explanation

Aftersun Melancholic Movie Recommendation Explanation
Reader Rating0 Votes

Aftersun Melancholic Movie Recommendation Explanation. I have to say, sometimes I’m suckered into movies believing they are one thing, only to fall in love with them being something completely other. And I’ll be honest with you, if someone had pitched me on watching this movie, that it is right up my alley, though it is X Y Z… I would have told them to go fly a kite. That this would be the most boring movie imaginable. No thank you. But that’ll be a hard pass for me. Alright? Good. Thanks for playing. But, I’m telling you – I adored this movie. The absolute best way I could sell you on this one? By describing it as a melancholic Licorice Pizza crossed with the ambiguity and turmoil of Starfish. Now. If you don’t know either of those movies, this isn’t my fault. I have hailed the sun-kissed joy and wonder of Licorice Pizza here extensively. And I have applauded the vaunted (yet completely unknown) movie Starfish so many times on this blog as to have worn out my keyboard doing so.

Your first tip that Aftersun was going to be glorious, is that it is brought to us by the never failing, A24. They basically have the best production record in the industry of producing and distributing indie brilliance. That’s just a literal fact. Lamb, The Green Knight, Everything Everywhere All at Once, After Yang, The Hole in the Ground, First Reformed, and this is just me randomly picking winner after winner off the top of my head. Want me to keep going?? Killing of a Sacred Deer, Lady Bird, It Comes at Night, A Ghost Story, I mean… And that’s just in the last couple years. So, now, A24 is bringing us a movie about a girl, and her father, on vacation in Turkey. Hrm. Okay. But trust me, it’s worth your time. And here’s why, it is interesting in and of itself, but it’s much more interesting in that there are complications here… time folding on itself, time lensing against history, and causing anomalies, and inaccuracies. But also, ripples, chaos, impacts… and all of it is as unclear as an over-watched VHS tape ground down by years and years of over evaluation.

Aftersun Melancholic Movie Recommendation Explanation

Aftersun is a slice of life movie that places a moment of time under the microscope in order to try and figure out what significance might have been initially missed upon the initial experience of it. It is a future present staring back at the distant past, wondering… “was that significant?” What about that? Did it mean anything… or am I reading into this thought entirely too much here?

Calum (Paul Mescal), a single father to Sophie (Franki Corio), takes his daughter on a cheesy vacation get away in Turkey (which smacks of a two-person $799.99 online, “all inclusive” awfulness to it) where the hotel gets the room wrong, and is under constant construction… it’s just an awful vacation all the way around. But the duo are up for making the best of it, and the kinds of experiences and conversations that these two have are enviable. Not by me, because my relationships with my three children are perfect. But maybe by you… cough. Calum comes off more as an older brother, than an actual father in this swath of experience. They laugh together, Sophie watches out for him. He screws up, asks for forgiveness. They have inside jokes that the audience isn’t meant to understand. But we learn, over time, that Sophie normally lives with her mother in Glasgow, as the marriage has been long, long since dissolved. There isn’t any Parent Trapping happening here… no. That ship has long sailed.

The vacation more seems like a chance for Sophie to prove just how grown up she is to her father. Hell, like-wise, it seems as though Calum is doing his best to prove to his daughter that although this is a bargain basement vacation… he is capable of parenting at an elite level… which he is OBVIOUSLY not capable of.

The movie is the literal manifestation of the idea that it is better to show than to tell. We see that Calum is a broken human being while he smokes his cigarette on the balcony when he thinks that Sophie is asleep. We learn as he pines for an expensive prayer rug as he considers a significant life change, which has such an enormous ring of spiritual pathos I at first wondered if Calum was about to become a suicide bomber. (Think about it, the whole movie makes more sense if that is what happens next… oh never mind.) But all of these glimmers of a deeper truth hint at a deeper dissatisfaction osmosizing from Calum. Did he realize that he had failed Sophie, and in one fell swoop was attempting to make it up to her? Is he trying to impress his long since divorced ex-wife? What is the deeper 3-D Chess move here?

The actual events that are happening throughout the movie are actually filler. They do not matter, except that they do in a meta sort of way. Yes, Sophie is becoming interested in boys… and them in her. But that seems to only matter in relation from the prismatic view of her father’s understanding this fact. In fact, it seems to only matter at a remove of years as to what her father thought of this fact. But I am getting ahead of myself. Heck, let’s just discuss it. As the movie approachs the end, we start to get the feeling of being watched. But watched by whom? By Sophie. Eh? You know, Sophie that is almost 30 Sophie… a much older and wiser Sophie. A Sophie who is attempting to discover who she was, and who her father was all those years ago.

We see snippets of Older-Sophie. She is with a woman, they have a child, and she seems worn by the world, and curious. Curious about that summer with her father. It’s as if the entire movie was just Sophie’s introspective reflections on “that time in Turkey” with her her dad. Reflections interspersed with Super8 recordings of said summer experience. We snake backwards and forwards through the memories, to the tapes, and back to the memories again. We even catch moments, glitches, where the memories and the tapes don’t align. Moments where the matrix is torn between lived experience and the evidentiary fact of the experience. But isn’t that how memory works? We massage it, and finesse it, until – like an oyster – it is a smooth pearl, palatable, and safe. So much so, it’s really very difficult to know what is real and what is fake here. Are we watching a completely sanded down and smooth version of what really happened?

Well, it’s not completely sanded down, because we still have a few jarring moments. The moment Sophie comes back to the room to find her dad butt naked on the bed and crashed out. Or the moment she spots him making out with another guy through the curtains. And the time when, after her karaoke performance, he ignorantly offers to get her singing lessons. So, yeah, it’s not all sunshine and sunscreen. And we get this feeling that it is older Sophie who is rewinding these tapes, and memories, in order to try and make sense of them all. And it’s as if McClendon is defining something, but what is missing? We get the feeling that Sophie’s father is gone. Dead maybe? Lost. We get the feeling that there is a significant hole that is here but we just don’t know what it is. Ultimately, it’s as if the distance between father and daughter is clarified by the understanding of just how forced this summer vacation really was. A man convincing his daughter that he can provide, care, and love for his daughter that he is having difficulties providing, caring for, and loving on. And a daughter that is trying to convince her father she can take care of herself while simultaneously saying quite loudly that she cannot.

But ultimately, the movie seems to also just be a moment. A memory of a moment of a freer, and lighter day. A memory of a time when they were both loved, even in spite of the things that happened before, and would happen after.

Edited by: CY