Originally released in cinemas in April 2019, After is the latest teen romantic drama to hit Netflix. It is based on the YA (Young Adult) novel by Anna Todd, whose original story was One Direction inspired fan fiction. Having watched it, I didn't get the connection. I actually thought it was a modern update on the classic Cruel Intentions. Especially as the lead, Josephine Langford, is remarkably like a young Reece Witherspoon.
After follows a well-trodden path of pitting a lovely, rather innocent but assured young girl against a bad boy. The bad boy in question is Hardin Scott played by Hero Fiennes-Tiffin. And yes, I'll save you googling him, he is the nephew of actors Ralph and Joseph Fiennes.
Tessa is venturing off to college as a freshman. She arrives with high school boyfriend Noah and her over-protective mother in tow. Her dorm-mate is older and clearly more adventurous and soon Tessa is on her first night out where she meets Hardin. Almost instantly the chemistry between them crackles on the screen. And it never stops. Not once. From the initial cat and mouse chase to the falling deeply in love phase, Langford and Fiennes-Tiffin are the epitome of every 15-year-old girl's dreams.
He is the teenage fantasy. Sullen, moody, deep in his thoughts and covered in tattoos but with a heart of gold if only he could find somebody to love him. And he works the steamy lingering looks incredibly well. So when Tessa arrives on the scene you know exactly where this story is going.
But the path to true love never runs smoothly. Between Tessa's mother and a very jealous Molly (who has her eyes on Hardin), somebody's heart is about to get well and truly trampled on. Or is it?
After is very similar to The Kissing Booth or To All The Boys I've Loved Before. There are some small differences but the core tales are as old as time, which is probably why they work so well. To be fair to the movie, it is compelling and engaging and the characters are incredibly likable. So much so, that the follow-up movie, After Worlds Collide, is already in pre-production and will be released in 2020.