Occasionally, there are movies that are more entertaining to hear critics describe than actually see. Chief among this genre are weepy Nicholas Sparks adaptations, whose combination of predictable tropes and out there plotting is consistently compelling (who among us could forget Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth bonding over saving sea turtle eggs from a hungry raccoon?).
While we don’t have a new Nicholas Sparks movie, there is After, a teen romance that began as One Direction fan-fiction. Which, thanks to the preposterously successful Fifty Shades of Grey franchise — which began as Twilight fan fiction written under the pen name “Snowqueens Icedragon” — is a totally cromulent way to start a franchise now.
The film adaptation of After, which opened this past weekend, also stars someone named “Hero Fiennes-Tiffin,” who I learned today is not only Ralph Fiennes’ nephew, but a member of Britain’s famous “Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes family.” Other cast members include the model Khadijha Red Thunder and Guam-born rhyming named popstar Pia Mia. This thing is awash with incredible names! I brought back Plot Recreated With Reviews to see what else we could discover.
The origin story of After is more interesting than the film itself. This tale of college love and lust began life as a piece of One Direction fan fiction, putting a bad boy version of Harry Styles in a hot and heavy love affair with a bookish, sheltered freshman girl. Several character name changes and five bestsellers later, Anna Todd’s After series has now been adapted into a big-screen romance. [AV Club]
After — named for the fact that Tessa categorizes her life as “before Hardin” and “after” — opens with some narration about how certain moments in life seem to define a person [Roger Ebert.com]
Josephine Langford of Wolf Creek and Wish Upon is Tessa, whom we meet as she’s delivered to Atlanta’s Rossmore University by her helicopter divorced mom (Selma Blair) and still-in-high-school beau Noah (Dylan Arnold) [Roger’s Movie Nation]
…who behaves more like a brother to Tessa, until he gives her a quick peck on the lips as a most underwhelming farewell. [Roger Ebert.com]
Tessa has been sheltered, dating her mom-approved “nice guy” boyfriend since forever and she and mom and that boyfriend are all blown away when she moves into a dorm room with worldwise, sexually omnivorous upperclasswoman Steph (Khadijha Red Thunder), all fishnet stockings, piercings, tattoos and promises of getting Tessa into all the clubs where you “don’t even need a fake.” [Roger’s Movie Nation]
At a frat party, Tessa, in an outfit so modest that one girl snickers at it as if it were a sackcloth, gets drawn into a game of Truth or Dare, a surefire way to reveal that (duh!) she’s still a virgin. [Variety]
Steph is how Tessa eventually meets a faster crowd — mean-girl flirt Molly (Inanna Sarkis) and brooding Brit-hunk Hardin [Roger’s Movie Nation]
…a bad English boy with tattoos and a Ramones t-shirt who happens to be the son of the school’s chancellor [The Film Stage]