I’m not sure there has ever been a more independent of an independent film than Aftersun. It is everything that you might expect from an independent film, including the lack of a general plot.
Calum (Paul Mescal) and his 11-year old daughter Sophie (Frankie Corio) were together on summer vacation in Turkey. Calum and Sophie’s mom were separated. Calum was having plenty personal issues, but he clearly loved his daughter. They spent time together.
Honestly, I am not exactly sure what I watched. There was not a lot of throughline to the story and there was not a ton of character development either. We got some examples of Calum struggling, but we did not find out why. There was also scenes interspersed in the story of an adult Sophie and a weird dance club with a strobe light making it tough to tell what was happening. It looked as if Calum was there and was very out of it and the relationship with Sophie seemed to be on the rocks, but, as I said, the scenes were tough to wath.
I believe the film was meant to be shown as memories, as we see Sophie later reflecting back upon the Turkey trip. Perhaps the disjointed feeling was intended as a way to illustrate memory. Either way it was diffiuclt to follow.
When the scenes were more straight forward, I thought Frankie Corio did a great job as the young Sophie. She and Paul Mescal were magic together as their performances kept me engaged in a movie that I did not feel was telling me much of a story or that I was fully understanding what was going on.
I have to say that final section of strobe-lit dance club made me feel very uncomfortable as my imagination played with what I was trying to see. It just made me feel odd.
I am sure that critics love this movie, but I had a tough time with it. There just seemed to be too much independent movie about it for my tastes.