The strong resemblance and stronger rapport between Calum (Paul Mescal), 30, and Sophie (Frankie Corio), his 11-year-old daughter, has them frequently mistaken for siblings. Away on a family-of-two vacation at a discount Turkish resort, the pair often conduct themselves like impish kids playing hooky. Prone to manic spells, Calum showers Sophie with affection and whatever else his meagre budget might allow. All of this in a desperate bid to stave off a depressive episode that looms like the Sword of Damocles.
In her astonishing feature debut, Charlotte Wells demonstrates a gentle touch but unwavering command of emotional complexities. As Sophie fumbles her way into adolescence and Calum teeters at the brink of psychological collapse, telling moments and revelatory gestures amass significance. Wells’ formal prowess is impressive as she interweaves her luminous 35mm compositions with digital video keepsakes shot by Sophie. As Aftersun builds to its deeply affecting finale, we’re reminded how life’s turning points often arrive without warning.
French Touch Prize of the Jury, Cannes Critics’ Week 2022
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Adele Romanski, Amy Jackson, Barry Jenkins, Mark Ceryak
Charlotte Wells is a Scottish filmmaker based in New York. She wrote and directed three short films as a student in the MBA/MFA dual degree program at NYU. Wells has been featured in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film and was a fellow at the 2020 Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters and Directors Labs. Aftersun is her first feature.