The second part of the filmed “After” series comes under the title AFTER TRUTH in USA cinemas and tells again about the fateful relationship between Hardin Scott and Tessa Young. There are some nice new discoveries, but also massive regressions and developments to discover. We reveal more about this in our review.
OT: After We Collided (USA 2020)
Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) and Tessa Young (Josephine Langford) experience the aftermath of their breakup after Hardin wasn’t honest with Tessa about his relationship intentions. While Hardin falls into bad habits, Tessa, armed with new self-confidence, lands the internship of her dreams and is allowed to work at Vance Publishing Company from now on. While at Vance’s, she catches the attention of her handsome new colleague Trevor (Dylan Sprouse), who is exactly the guy she’s always wanted. He is smart, funny, charming and responsible; But Tessa can’t forget Hardin. Despite all her misunderstandings and hardships, she cannot deny that she is still attracted to him. She wished she could just disappear. But this is not so easy. And so Hardin and Tessa will once again fight through all the ups and downs that life has in store for them…
The four-part “After” series by the American writer Anna Todd has a huge fan base, but has also had to endure a lot of malice; for their outrageously kitschy dialogues, the emotions conjured up in a soap opera and one-dimensional characters whose physical love in particular is drowned in clichéd erotic scenes. So basically everything is the same as in the “Fifty Shades of Gray” series, which was designed for a slightly more mature audience, which also earned the series the early verdict “’Fifty Shades’ for teens”. What the stories also have in common is that a young, sexually inexperienced woman falls in love with a much more experienced man – or let’s say: bad boy (or bad man) – and is introduced to the high art of eroticism by him for the first time. The first part of the screen adaptation, which was released last year and will probably comprise a total of four films if all goes well, received largely similar feedback as its adult counterpart, although “After Passion” has to be given credit for the love between At least Tessa and Hardin are not portrayed as toxic as the one between Anastasia Steele and Christian Gray in the first part of the “Shades” series (we still stand by the fact that the film series has gradually improved).
The relationship between Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) and Tessa (Josephine Langford) is still strained.
However, “After Passion” wasn’t a complete success for us for various reasons. The crude dialogues, the sloppy acting of Hero Fiennes Tiffin (“Cleaning Up”) and the chastity evoked by dim lighting, quickly fading cameras and lots of soft focus, along with an enervating soundtrack of interchangeable pop songs, certainly made it difficult (rightly) for viewers outside the target group of love-struck girls between 12 and 16 to find anything good about it Find high-gloss Schmonzette. But the core audience will hardly be bothered by all of these aspects; and then there was the self-sacrificing performance of newcomer Josephine Langford (“Wish Upon”), a pleasantly self-evident consideration of the safe sex aspect and a sincere approach to teenage problems surrounding the topic of first love and first sex, which is unfortunately partly ruined by the wooden dialogue. It was therefore possible to identify exactly what the weaknesses of “After Passion” were – it would have been easy to iron them out. And in fact, “After Truth”, which, unlike its predecessor, does not have an age rating of 0 but 12, is no longer as chaste as part one. The couple in love fuck each other from the sofa to the shower to the office of Tessa, who now works in a publishing house. You still don’t get to see a lot of explicitness, but in combination with somewhat coarser language, “After Truth” comes a lot closer to the advance verdict “‘Fifty Shades’ for teenagers”.
“And in fact, ‘After Truth’, which, unlike its predecessor, doesn’t have an age rating from 0, but one from 12, is no longer as chaste as part one. The couple in love fuck each other from the sofa to the shower to the office of Tessa, who now works in a publishing house.”
What hasn’t improved at all compared to part one is the lackluster acting of the main actor – and since he has to carry the film almost alone together with Josephine Langford, that detracts from the overall impression. In addition, there is a very unfortunate handling of his character. From an irrepressible bad boy (he even has tattoos!), Hardin Scott becomes a downright asshole; And that doesn’t just have to do with the fact that – as the summary so beautifully describes – he falls back into old habits. Instead, in the very first scene, Hardin sullenly drives up to a homeless man and tells him to “fuck off.” When he and Tessa meet again for the first time, he sleeps with her, even though she is completely drunk and hardly notices anything about the situation. And as the process progresses, situations continue to arise in which the idea of the soft core behind the hard shell is completely removed. The fact that Josephine Langford, on the other hand, can put her acting strengths into the increased self-confidence of her character and therefore it seems absolutely authentic that it is she who is suddenly holding the reins of their relationship can at least partially offset the dubious impression of Hardin’s change in character. Nevertheless, the depiction of such a relationship – unlike its predecessor – definitely remains debatable. Although the script by Anna Todd and Mario Celaya makes it clear that Tessa is not submissive to Hardin, but has long since freed herself from the dependence that arose from the “first love” factor.
But in the end they always find each other again.
Once again it is Josephine Langford who has to take the iron out of the fire in terms of acting. Next to her, Disney star Dylan Sprouse impresses (“Zack & Cody on Board”) as a likeable newcomer. His clichéd figure of a sudden rival – just like in the second part of “Shades of Grey”, the main female character works successfully in a million-dollar company and gets to know a charming colleague there – is not so clichéd in “After Truth”. This Trevor is not a pretty boy and is simply a nice guy who shows tentative interest in Tessa, but honestly holds back because she is already taken and instead unselfishly offers himself as a friend. Just like Sprouse, I also like the fact that the film tries to be a little more tongue-in-cheek than its pseudo-deep predecessor. It starts with the fact that the philosophical phrases about love and life at the beginning of the film are immediately exposed as cheesy by the voice-over artist Hardin – and in the next moment he admits that a love story like the one between him and Tessa has already happened a hundred times has.
“Hardin Scott goes from an irrepressible bad boy (he even has tattoos!) to a downright asshole; And that doesn’t just have to do with the fact that – as the summary so beautifully describes – he’s falling back into old habits.”
Of course, that doesn’t relativize the fact that it really is like that; You can imagine early on where the journey is going. Even knowing that there will be a few more films to come. But it can’t hurt to give the characters and dialogue a little wink when you know that everything here is pretty tired.
Conclusion: “After Truth” stays true to the line of its predecessor “After Passion” and is once again a romance tailored precisely to the teen target group with a little more sex than in part one. While the spark of self-irony is good for the film and also convinces Josephine Langford once again, the handling of the character of Hardin Scott is at least debatable.
“After Truth” can be seen in USA cinemas from September 3rd.