Aftersun ★★★★

paul mescal deserves the oscar simply for the fact that it got to the point where i was just crying whenever he was on the screen. i wasn't even sure what moment had me crying; despite what i was led to believe, nothing in this is something i would necessarily call overly sad or emotional or hard to watch. it is simply the last weekend between a girl and her depressed father. this was i film i deeply resonated and connected with, and trust me, the emotions of this do really creep up on you. i was sobbing as the credits rolled. anyone who has dealt with depression, whether personally or through the unique experience of watching your parents suffer through it (or even both!) can clearly understand early on what the film is trying to communicate through calum and sophie's relationship. what this film does so perfectly, however, is maintains a childlike perspective of their relationship. sophie is 11 years old, and to 11 year old sophie this is a normal vacation with her father. there are times where you can overlook the background story, and are simply focussing on the tender dynamic that is shared between them; yet, at the same time, we never really forget where this is going. paul mescal's performance is stunning, and should go down as an all timer in terms of portraying mental illness. it's so subtle that i can see how it could go over people's heads until closer to end, but that is what makes it so damn perfect and realistic. sophie's character, both younger and older, was also extremely well portrayed. she knows that there is something not quite right with her father, but it isn't until she is closer to his age that she can now see him for who he is, and is aware of what he has gone through. her older perspective comes through briefly in moments of the film that serve as a reminder of the power of hindsight (the polaroid fading in for example). it's a very strange experience to be older and look back at your parents when you were younger, and for the first time ever seeing them not as your parents, but as equals, as people who are experiencing life for the first time and not always succeeding. and that often comes with guilt of not recognizing this sooner. it reminded me of myself, of my mother, and memories of my childhood that have been recontextualized as i get older. i'm not sure this is a movie that everyone will love or connect with, but for those it speaks to it is just insanely beautiful. extremely eager to watch this again.

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