After 5: After Everything (2023) Movie Review – A forced conclusion to the toxic relationship of a young couple

A forced conclusion to the toxic relationship of a young couple

The genre of romance movies has vastly changed over the last two decades. While the early 2000s gave viewers vanilla romantic movies with hints of comedy and drama, we saw a complete shift in the genre with the advent of erotic stories like Fifty Shades of Grey. 

Now as we advance into the early 2020’s, we have seen a fair share of erotic romance films and series and it looks like this subgenre isn’t going anywhere. The After Movies are a series of five films that come from the erotic romance subgenre and are adapted from 4 novels written by author Anne Todd.

Post the success of the first film, After which was released in 2019, the series only grew bigger and bigger before it finally ended in 2023. The Wattpad novel series titled After follows the story of a young adult couple, Tessa Young and Hardin Scott, who end up falling in love despite not being anything like the other.

The movies After, After We Collided, After We Fell and After Ever Happy were adapted into four films with the same titles. Meanwhile, the fifth and final movie, After Everything is based on the second half of the fourth novel and culminates Hardin and Tessa’s whirlwind romance. The film follows Hardin’s journey of introspection where he tries to see what his life would look like without Tessa in it. 

The film has a runtime of 90 odd minutes which mostly revolves around Hardin and his process of writing a second novel following the success of his debut novel titled ‘After’. While one expects a worthy conclusion to Hardin and Tessa’s story, After Everything is just not it.

The couple has been called toxic over the years and one would expect for the conclusion to be a genuine attempt in trying to prove to viewers why Hardin and Tessa should end up together. However, After Everything grossly fails at doing that.

The movie is one-sided and gives us an understanding of Hardin’s past, narrating the story of how he ruined another girl’s life due to a bet, just like he did with Tessa.

This is entirely about Hardin’s journey of reconciliation with his old friend as he reflects on his mistakes and tries to right his wrongs. There is little to no insight into Tessa’s life and her new life in New York unlike what we read in the novels. After Everything makes one believe that Tessa is more than happy in her life and wants nothing to do with Hardin but the final moments of the film give you an unexpected ending, leaving you scratching your head in confusion.

Something feels out of place in the final moments and it is difficult to understand if it is the lack of chemistry between Hardin and Tessa (aka Hero and Josephine), or it is the fact that the two still continue to fight before eventually making up over sex. 

Hardin and Tessa are very, very, very flawed characters who do nothing to change their actions and rectify their mistakes. Hardin says he has changed but we really don’t visually see him as a better person with Tessa which makes it hard to believe he has changed. After Everything ultimately feels like a forced conclusion to Hardin and Tessa’s story, and the world can finally heal in peace now that this one has ended!


Read More: After Everything (2023) Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 3/10

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