After we collided (2020)

This film has been named one of the worst movies on IMBD last year. Looking at it when I am writing right now. It shot up a lot and it is no longer the number one. I think that people who enjoyed this film a lot also voted. For me I am going right out and say it, this wasn’t the worst movie of the year. However, I feel in a very fortunate for the lockdown which meant I didn’t see this one at the cinema. I would have been absolutely mortified if I saw this movie with my mother.

The origin story
Everyone and their mum has heard that After started as a Harry Styles fan fiction. And that this made people mad. What a lot of people do not know is that this isn’t the whole story. I can see how only knowing it was based on someone’s looks can seem like such a mundane problem. This however isn’t the problem dare I say most have with the story. I have heard that people didn’t like the mature content of the story which is fair enough. That isn’t my problem with the story. Oh no, my problem is bigger than that. I think it is important to know that just because a story gets a lot of reads. Just because a lot of people buy a book. Just because people do enjoy a certain book does not mean that the book is good necessarily, or that they give off a good message. And that I precisely my problem. I already hear you say it; a story doesn’t necessarily have to give off a good message. However, when your main demographic is vulnerable teens, I think caution is needed. The author of this book is probably a nice woman, she probably didn’t mean harm. And being open and honest here I do have some cognitive dissonance with this book as I enjoy reading the story. Some bits are a bit weird which make me laugh. But the flow of the story is done well (although the chapter cuts are weird but this is what a fan-fiction gives you). The story truly isn’t half bad. Having said this, I am not 13 or 14 or even 12. I am not a young boy or girl in my room reading/watching/listening to this story and thinking that this is what love is. That true love shows itself the way this material is trying to make it seem. And I know that this book has mature content and I know that you might say that children will therefore not read it. But honestly, has that even slowed you down? It never stopped a teen either. Love, and I want to make this very clear, love shouldn’t be like this. No one on this whole planet should ever treat you the way these people treat each other (the book is far worse than the film). I know that a lot of people say that even though there is fighting, cheating, and lies at the end of the day they are meant to be together. This is all fine, as it is a story. If someone treats you this way, no matter your age, no matter how long you have been together. You have to know, this is your sign; YOU DESERVE SO MUCH BETTER. It doesn’t matter if ‘they bring out the worst in each other’ this isn’t funny. Children should always know, that they deserve to be treated well. This is, in my opinion not a story that teaches that. It teaches the complete opposite. And I personally believe this to be harmful. You can obviously disagree (respectfully), but I can’t stress enough that you are worth it, you deserve to be treated well. You deserve a love story better than this one, everyone does.

What is this movie about?
I always look at IMBD for information about a film, as I find they usually give a good synopsis of any story. I usually add some of my flair to make it even better. So here I was looking it up for After we collided and it just said. “Based on the 2014 romance novel of the same name, this follows the love life of two young adults”. I found this information here. Honestly, that is, pretty bad. The thing is, there isn’t much more you can say. It feels like a ‘filler film’, that when number three comes out you can just skip this one if you want to watch the whole series.

Anyway in After we collided:  We once again met Thessa and Hardin where we left off the last time. We follow them through fights and make-ups until the story ends. I found the start so weird as I thought the story ended (I had seen the first film again right before starting After we collided. And I thought it implied that they were going to talk but they were not.

The trailer

If the trailer doesn’t work, click here

What did I think?
Well generally speaking, it was worse than the last one and when a screenplay is co-written by the author you can’t help but think that has something to do with it (Just going off Fifty Shades for example which did worse in the box office after the author came onboard to have more influence). I also believe that watching a film in the cinema makes you like it better as you paid money for it (there are multiple psychological theories about things like this). So the rating could also have to do with the fact that there are lockdowns all over the world and people can’t see it in the cinema. When writing a movie review I always try to be nice, besides this, I am usually easily pleased with films. I can sit through almost any film and enjoy it. I also remember last time, I tried so hard to be kind. It’s not these actors’ fault they are in this movie. Especially because I think they might have not read the books as we would. I think you walk away with a different view if you know you might play one of the characters. I am not sure but I think it makes a difference.  So before I watched this film I watched the first one again to refresh my memory. And Tessa as a character is something.. No matter how lovely Josephine Langford is. There is no saving Tessa, she is the absolute worst character. And this stands out so much in the film as opposed to the book because in the book Hardin is even more terrible than he is in the film. Actually, I like to argue that movie Hardin isn’t such a terrible character at all. He has problems sure, but he has been through something traumatic (this doesn’t mean you are allowed to treat someone badly, obviously) and has clear mental problems that have to be addressed. Everyone else’s character is somehow also mean, making Hardin not so bad in comparison.

Maybe it is me being pretentious or me knowing the story or how bad it’s rated. But two minutes in I had to pause and say ‘What’ to my screen. The story starts by comparing this story to the Greek stories, to the stories told by Shakespeare, by the Brontë sisters. I think this is an insult to these great works. Everything is based on something. But that doesn’t mean it’s the same. Tessa wasn’t promised so to speak to Noah she chose him and was happy until she went to college. He was her first love that’s something different than being promised like in the olden days. And her ‘oppressive parent’ as much as I dislike the mum character and she wasn’t much around to begin with. She was reasonable. A bit overbearing but she was a single parent putting all her money into the future of her only child. I don’t live in America but I have heard that dorm rooms are expensive. Tessa and her mum have communication issues. But she is not a vile human being. There is a problem with setting up the story like this because it could have been the way they started. You can even argue that in the book this summary was quite good. For me though, it falls quite flat. Alright at 2 minutes and 20 seconds on the ‘happily ever after” bit I did laugh. It was good.

The movie starts with Hardin sleeping in his car. It is not clear to me why he is there and not anywhere else. Because he has a house right? Or is she living there and he is in his car? He comes from money so you would think he can afford a hotel, or sleep on his friend’s sofa? I found it a bit strange but alas. I liked that we met the homeless guy right away as people who know the story know is Tessa’s dad, which makes you wonder when he will come up again. This is a good move. When Tessa starts her new job we meet Vance, the owner of the company. I liked this as I thought “oh my gosh it’s Frank.  It’s Frank from How to Get Away with Murder, I forgot he was in this. What a pleasant surprise”. I think he makes a great Vance and I liked the way he came into the story. At her job, we also meet Trevor. Trevor is either very sarcastic or also not very nice. Here is the thing at this point I wonder if they try to make everyone be ‘mean’ so that Hardin and especially Tessa don’t seem as terrible in comparison.  Or if that just happened and they didn’t plan it? If they planned it, it’s working.

Tessa starts off her first day and falls asleep on the job. No one checked on here? Not even the security? Any office has night security which would have awoken her. Then there is a work trip which is happening on her second day. And I sit there wondering why one earth this is. We know is her second day because they tell us, she fell asleep on her first day and is in the same clothes for her second day. I think this is very fast. I can’t now remember if this happens in the book this fast but even if it did. They changed other things, they could have changed it. It was really weird because it made the pace of the film feel off. For instance with Trevor. Tessa and him had an awkward meeting but now approximately 24 hours later they have banter? But they don’t know each other? It seems a bit strange. The problem with this film is that none of the new characters are flushed out.  We meet them on Tessa’s first day. On her second day, they became fast friends. I worked places before, and that doesn’t happen that quickly. It makes the feel of the film off. I do like Tessa’s friendship with Trevor even though it is sudden it makes a bit more sense for the story.

I also liked Hardin’s mum, that actress (Louise Lombard) is great she got the cool mum role down. So I was thinking how can both the parents be shorter than the son they are acting they have? But I looked it up, you can become taller than your tallest parent. Which is funny, as I never truly thought about it. I dislike Noah in this one. He was understanding and somewhat kind in the last film and here he is not. It’s like I said before. Hardin and Tessa come off as greater because everyone else sucks. Even the mum is not great in the one, why does the mum curse? That is a bit weird, I am sorry it doesn’t go with the persona at all. In this film, they show Hardin’s mental state a bit more when he experiences nightmares from witnessing something terrible happen to his mum. This broke my heart. I think mental health and especially Hardin with the drinking is dealt with in such a poor way. Which is the screenwriter’s fault and honestly inexcusable. Besides he is right to be angry and to feel upset. He is going on about it in the wrong but he has been harmed immensely as a boy and he hasn’t learned to cope. So we can’t then go on and judge someone for not coping well. Especially in his relationship with his dad. I also see what they try to do with the forgiveness. But Hardin isn’t ready to forgive himself, but the story never talks about that. It focused on forgiveness. for his dad.  The problems of Hardin’s mental health influence his relationship. I mean I wouldn’t like it very much if someone cheated on me to my face. Or when someone had a guy/girl in his/her underwear in their room when we just broke up. Honestly, all of us would be angry. His mental state and his anger, in this case, don’t matter as cheating is inexcusable but he should chase help not Tessa.

They fight a lot and about the same things, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but if you can’t make up maybe you should stop trying. Also, I would like to add, that being sorry isn’t good enough. I know Tessa thinks so but Hardin has been an absolute prick to her in the last film. So I understand she can’t just move on. Like I said, maybe she shouldn’t. She should however make up her mind. Move on with or without him but not making a choice is a choice.  Also, it wasn’t made clear in this film that Hardin had other girls he took bets on. So making up with one of his conquests came out of left field. The New Year party is a reminder to us all that if you do not know what you can or cannot handle when it comes to alcohol, you shouldn’t be drinking at all.

Here is the thing, Tessa needs to get off her high horse and learn to be reasonable. She expects someone to change overnight. Yes, Hardin did bad things in the last movie she could have broken up. If you want to move on and forgive you need to mean it. If you can’t do that, which is fine you should leave. You can’t hold the worst thing someone has ever done to you over their head for the rest of their lives. If you can’t live with it (I am not saying she should, she shouldn’t actually) you should just leave. No matter how hard this may be. In this film, Hardin did not do anything really bad. He lied to his mum, he wasn’t very nice to Tessa. He stayed out all night. But she cheated on him, which arguably is way worse. He has mental problems what did she expect? This film seems to think that love is enough and that seems great but it isn’t. It’s not enough and we shouldn’t expect it to be.  Also repeat after me: love doesn’t cure mental illness. Tessa is young and you can tell. The expectation that love is enough even in a film saying or making it seem that if there is love it will work out is just bad. Love alone honestly isn’t enough, films maybe shouldn’t pretend that it is.

In this film, there was a lot of adult content. I don’t mind some adult scenes as this is a part of most people’s adult relationships. It is a part of life so to speak. But in this film, especially the bedroom and bathroom scenes I thought it was a bit much. If you want to watch this film it is totally up to you, it wasn’t the worst film. I do hope that they will focus a bit more on mental health in the next films. To give themselves time to do this, I wouldn’t mind if they skipped some of the adult scenes.

Do you want to know what I feel about other films and series? Click here. Or maybe something completely different click here.

Lots of love,

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