Aftersun

Aftersun ★★★★★

Wow this film really got to me. Reminded me of all the good, silly memories I have of my father: of us listening to “good music,” painting together, making home videos, him teaching me how to play different games and sports before I got older and started to hate him. This film really shows how immortal childhood memories are and captures the sort of universal feeling of being a preteen, navigating a world of childhood you are too old for and a world of teenagerdom you are too young for, and how you wish to hold onto both worlds at once (sing silly karaoke with your father and party with the older kids). It just felt so honest and genuine, the way we follow Sophie’s gaze and see her stare for a long time at all the different couples, young and old, parents with their children. How the film also follows Calum and his complicated path of tidying up his relationship with his daughter, knowing and regretting what he is going to do after the trip is over. I have been reflecting a lot on motherhood and fatherhood lately, and how there is so much pressure on mothers to be good mothers. They are the primary responsibility for their children, in charge of everything from the rules their kids follow, to the activities they plan for them, for providing them childcare - they expected to sacrifice their whole life and personhood for their children. Fathers, on the other hand, are allowed to prioritize life outside of their family. They can have a work life and a friend life and still be around for the “fun parts” of their children’s lives, but not the true, total responsibility. I just think a lot of men are set up to fail as fathers - I don’t know a single person who connects emotionally with their father or doesn’t outright loathe their fathers. The role they have with their children is always somewhat detached and distant. The nuclear family is such a terrible model for raising children and building relationships of love and support and I could go on a rant about the way the nuclear family fails us all until I die but I will circle back to the movie. I also love the way the film showcases the experience of going to these type of vacation resorts as a kid - the hair wraps, the quirky activities with bored staff, making new friends you will never see again - it just felt so familiar. Overall, a really beautiful film. The performances of Sophia and Calum were so well done (Paul Mescal I <3 you even though you were in that travesty Normal People.)

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