After Everything is Hardin’s story after Tessa left him. We saw in After Ever Happy that Hardin didn’t tell Tessa about what was inside the novel, their own love story, and how it changed him. Tessa wasn’t okay with the fact that he didn’t even consider consulting her before letting their story out in the world.
It’s been years that they’ve been apart and he isn’t able to function after her. This is his story and what path he chooses: self-destruction or the road to growth. Hardin upon his mother’s suggestion goes to Portugal to make amends with a girl Nathalie. What happened between them is revealed subsequently.
A good father-son bonding has also been included and this made me happy. Christian Vance made up for not being there for his son. There’s a scene in the middle of the film where he has a heart-to-heart conversation with Hardin. There’s a thing he said to Hardin about how he can still move on with having a little space in his heart for Tessa. The conversation hits you hard.
It’s difficult to write about After Everything in a concise manner. For those who have watched its previous four installments, be ready to be tested. The film plays with your patience, just like Hardin was being tested in his life. His first book was a success, but he wasn’t even able to write a single page for his second book.
The success After series has earned is due to the electric chemistry between the leads Hardin and Tessa. One of the things that connects best with book lovers is the poetic manner in which Hardin puts up his feelings. His words reach your heart and you can’t stop but feel what he is going through. Apart from his words, his eyes tell us what is going on inside of him. The character holds power over the audience, and I can’t imagine anyone except Hero Fiennes Tiffin in the role.
In the previous installments too when he quotes from Emily Brontë’s work, “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same”, it makes you fall in love with Hardin. The boy has had a troubling and disturbing past and maybe that’s why he felt everything so deeply.
I being a fan of the After series wasn’t able to involve myself 100% in the film because there was a missing space. Tessa should have been a part of this film as this is where the charm is. Their relationship undeniably was toxic, but bad things always have a charm to them. We knew from the start that this relationship would be difficult to work out, but Hardin’s ecstatic gaze whenever he looked towards Tessa and the way she cared for him made us stick to our screens for so long that I’ve forgotten the number of times I have seen the film series.
"After Everything" did just one thing wrong, and it was to give Nathalie’s character so much screen time. As a fan, I don’t want to see her as what’s in the past should remain there. Hardin apologized to her for the worst imaginable things he did. This part should have been over in 20 to 30 minutes as the audience is here for Hessa (Tessa Young and Hardin Scott).
Just like the tattoos on Hardin’s left shoulder are spun in a web that it is difficult to find where it starts or where it ends, his life was the same, but that was ‘Before’ he met Tessa. His journey ‘After’ her has been very much different. Hardin’s world was empty, meaningless, and directionless. In this fifth film, the selection of songs is very good. If you listen to them then, you’ll find out how perfectly they suit the ongoing situation. Although I didn’t like what Hardin was doing in Portugal even after making amends, I think that the fans should make peace with the fact that this too was important for him to become a different and improved version of himself.
Tessa’s no-show in the movie was odd as we wanted to know how one of our favorite couples would end up. Many scenes from the previous installments have been added and they’re all of great significance. For example, when Hardin went with Tessa for the first time off-campus to the lake. How, at the side of the same lake, she rested her head on his shoulders. Though I was angry with the writer for approximately 70 minutes out of the total of 93 minutes, it was the last 20 minutes that justified it all. I wouldn’t give a spoiler, but it is an ending that we all waited for.
The beauty of Portugal in the movie has been utilized skillfully. Hero Fiennes Tiffin had a great responsibility on his shoulders as this installment is made from his point of view. The actor nailed every scene and his eyes said more than a thousand words. He hasn’t ever disappointed the fans with his role as Hardin.
What I wasn’t happy with was the time distribution and the way the lead couple was allotted very few scenes. I was happy with the references they included from the previous installment, but this being a new movie, I wanted something substantial and not just compensation. Being satisfied with the ending, leaves you asking for more and why it wasn’t done.
After Everything raises several questions, especially for the viewers who have been through similar phases in their lives. The film teaches you that it is sometimes good to focus on yourself to escape the vicious cycle of self-destruction.
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