It’s a World War II-romantic drama, unexpectedly best-suited for a girls night out. Read on as our movie critic shares his review.
WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE:
KEY CAST MEMBERS: Keira Knightley, Alexander Skarsgård, Jason Clarke, Kate Phillips and Flora Thiemann
DIRECTOR(S): James Kent
THE BACK STORY: Based on the novel of the same name by Rhidian Brook, The Aftermath stars Keira Knightley as Rachel Morgan, a woman married to her British colonel husband Lewis (Jason Clarke). Lewis is charged with helping to rebuild Hamburg, Germany following the official end of World War II, even if several Hitler supporters lurking in the city long to do damage to anything British.
Rachel, however, has her own German issue to confront in the form of Stephen Lubert (Alexander Skarsgård). You see, it’s his home that Rachel will be staying in as Lewis works to rebuild Hamburg. In addition to his daughter’s apprehension to having unwanted guests in her late mother’s home, Stephen’s subtle charm – seemingly against her own wishes – is bringing out an attraction to him that Rachel isn’t sure how to handle given her own disdain for being in Hamburg.
But in the aftermath of the tragic death of her son, this new uncomfortable living situation might become a little too comfortable for her own good.
THE REVIEW: As cliché as it is to call a movie a “chick flick” or a Lifetime movie, sometimes the cliché – as in the case is in life – it fits. In the case of The Aftermath, it is easy to call it a chick flick/Lifetime movie, but given its mix of over-the-top drama and heavy-handed foreshadowing filled with tropes … That is also just passable enough to entertain its target audience of women (let’s say ages 28-65, middle to upper class and very much into old world romance/affairs).
Knightley’s performance in The Aftermath is uneven at best, with certain moments coming off well, feeling like they are missing from a Lifetime movie with others feeling more genuinely consistent with the story. Clarke is likewise the owner of one of the worst moments of laughing crying possibly seen on film and the backstories for the characters is pretty flimsy with the side stories feeling exactly like that: a side item. What will work for many, however, is the inherent drama of the story, the backdrop of 1940s Germany and the leading man appeal of Skarsgård carries enough weight to steer the film when it starts to lose its sea legs (so to speak).
That all being said, The Aftermath is a film that is geared to those who believe in love, to those who love a good love triangle, those who have experienced loss and/or love a romantic movie and are more than willing to overlook flaws when they get a film that is intended to be an audience pleaser. The story is watchable once it gets going … Even if it never really gets going to anywhere you haven’t been before and better.
Just make sure that any male that gets drug to the movie knows what he’s in for or the aftermath of that decision might lead to quite a royal argument.