Aftersun by Charlotte Wells [8/10]

A bold arthouse movie that alienates many from the first scene (I know, having seen the film in a party of ten), “Aftersun” covers a few days in a seedy Portugese beach resort. Calum, a young Irishman, is treating Sophie, his eleven-year-old daughter to a holiday, and it is immediately clear that Sophie lives with her mother and Calum is desperate to reestablish a relationship with her. Sophie, played with immersive brilliance by Frankie Corio takes jerky home movies that form part of her adult memories, as we see from a few flash-forwards. Calum is sweet (another wonderful performance from Paul Mescal) but we begin to see hidden despair behind his clumsy efforts at loving fatherhood. Willfully oblique in cinematography and narrative direction, Aftersun mixes brief cryptic images and scenes with drawn-out episodes of what seems to be banality, but behind every moment, it becomes clear hidden emotions swirl. This is a film to give you a headache from concentrating but the emotional depth is astounding.

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