Film Review & Trailer: After Love

after-love-thumbnailFrances Winston felt the claustrophobia of this break-up movie, filmed completely in an apartment

Directed by: Joachim Lafosse – Starring: Bérénice Bejo, Cédric Kahn

The title of this French flick pretty much sums up the plot. It is basically all about what happens after love. Think of it as a 90+ minute analysis of a break-up, and you know what to expect.

Bejo and Kahn play the couple in question, Marie and Boris. They are splitting up, but living under the same roof, as he is demanding half the value of their home, although she claims he is only entitled to a third since she technically owns it. Their twin daughters are exposed to their fighting, and it affects their behaviour. Meanwhile, they soldier on, trying to score points off one another, with Marie revelling in Boris’ failures, and he playing on her insecurities about her well-off background.

This is pretty much set in their apartment for the duration of the movie, bar a few final scenes. Therefore there is a constant feeling of claustrophobia. Both Bejo and Kahn are great, and completely throw themselves into their roles. However – and this is both a good and a bad thing – it is deeply uncomfortable viewing for the most part. If you’ve ever been through a messy break-up, or even sat there while your friends argued mid break-up, this will simply serve to remind you of this. At times it grates, and you will find yourself wishing they would just stop bickering.

While this shows that it does indeed affect you as a viewer, I also found that it became tedious in parts. Their constant fighting about the same thing, over and over and over, became incredibly boring. Also, by setting it predominantly in the apartment, Lafosse is snookered, as it is hard to introduce plot-twists or story developments, as the action never feels like it moves on.

This has some great performances, but the issue here is that the subject matter is too close to the bone for most people, and also slightly tedious, and the script does nothing to assuage that.

Worth a look for the performances, but this will strike a chord and remain with you for all the wrong reasons. It’s pretty hard work. It’s not bad. But it’s a difficult movie to sit through.

In the IFI from October 28th! See trailer below:

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