First, I just want to start off by saying you people make me sick. I’ve complained plenty of times about how bad movies like these do well while genuinely good movies are hanging by a thread at the box office, but I’ve reached my breaking point this time. I can no longer tolerate the people who support After We Fell or the fandom of this wretched hope-to-god tetralogy (for nothing can stop the fourth movie, but we can stop the next two movies).
Turns out, this fandom has a name. They are called the “Afternators,” and I’d like to personally say that these people should be put on the FBI’s watchlist. Call me mean, but this is a fandom that worships a fanfiction that was turned into a book via the find-and-replace feature on Microsoft Word. And its original inspiration, Harry Styles, is trying to get as far away from it as possible (it’s rumored that he blocked the author on Twitter after she invited him to the premiere). So yeah, I’m allowed to call out this fandom as well as criticize the latest movie, which is somehow the worst one yet.
Even for some of the other worst movies I’ve seen in my life, I’ve always left the film running without interrupting it. But as for After We Fell, I fast forwarded so many different parts in this movie cause I just felt pain. Even when Jason Derulo went to kiss Francesca Hayward’s feet in Cats, I somehow found the sheer will not to shut off my TV (I also didn’t know where the remote was), but I couldn’t resist the urge to fast forward in After We Fell. Regardless, let’s get into why even I was completely broken by this movie.
After We Fell, once again, follows the most toxic and infuriating relationship ever put to film: Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) and Tessa (Josephine Langford). Tensions rise (as they tend to, because these people shouldn’t be together) when Tessa’s long lost father (Atanas Srebrev) returns into her life. Immediately, Hardin begins to worry that Tessa’s father’s alcoholism will hurt her, because Hardin’s alcoholism definitely hasn’t hurt Tessa, ever. There’s no time for this plot point, however, because Tessa’s father leaves them to fight for the entire movie. That’s pretty much it. All the movie is is Hardin and Tessa fighting and forgiving each other while all the adults give them everything and enable them in all the wrong ways. It barely even has a plot this time around.
Because some demons gave the previous film enough money, this was filmed during the pandemic. In order to make things safer and to ensure that all movies can be filmed (so that I will never be happy), the production company moved the shoot to Bulgaria. This caused several different cast members to drop out due to the distance for filming. Instead of renegotiating or figuring out another safe territory, this film moved along and recasted three-fourths of the key characters. This may sound like something minimal to complain about, but it is so distracting because I am not emotionally invested enough in this wretched franchise to keep track of all the characters. This was hard last time, but now I have to keep track of the people who were recast. I barely knew what was going on several times because I was not really familiar with who I was supposed to be paying attention to. It was like my brain was tightrope walking, trying to balance all of this confusion while simultaneously trying to not implode. Sadly, these moments caused my brain to implode several times in the film. Instead of being bad as a whole, it now completely disconnected me from reality.
Speaking of the characters disconnecting me from reality, let’s talk about them. Hardin has only been more explored as a character. This means he’s now even more childish, toxic, needy, and abusive than he was before. His platonic love interest, Tessa, has pretty much accepted the role that these three films have been building up. In the first two movies, it often felt like Tessa was basically Hardin’s mother; but now, Tessa completely assimilates the role as Hardin’s mother. And everyone around Tessa tells her that she should stay with Hardin just because he loves her, completely ignoring the fact that the two are always fighting. In addition to this, these very people who tell her this are acutely aware of one of the most disturbing events I have ever seen put to film. Also, they completely changed Christian Vance’s character from the last movie. In the previous one, he was a guy who seemed mostly believable in that he’s mostly hard but trying to become a better person. But now, with a brand new actor, he just serves as Tessa’s loyal enabler. Almost forgot to mention, but they also change Vance’s accent. They cast a guy with a British accent when the last film established that he was American. Should there be a shrewd of consistency here, or am I just going insane (probably going insane)? Also back to Hardin, I looked at IMDB and apparently, the actor was a producer for this film. Which leads me to believe that he’s trying to figure out how to issue a call for help. Although not every actor in this film may be great, they could probably do so much better in a decent movie. I saw Josephine Langford in Moxie and I was genuinely impressed by her acting, but she’s unfortunately stuck in this stupid movie. And I remembered that Hero Fiennes Tiffin played young Tom Riddle, which made me realize that he’s also been bogged down by this movie franchise. Like Tessa and Hardin, all of these actors need space. They can do so much better in other projects, but now they’re stuck for one more movie unless they get included in the prequel and reboot (not a joke, these are actually in the works).
The writing has also never been worse than in this movie. After has had its share of infuriating melodrama and lines that make you cringe, so obviously, Anna Todd’s decided to double down. I can tell that she now has more creative control than ever before because the writing has sunk lower than my grades. So many lines feel like Anna Todd had an idea for a conversation, so she wrote one line of dialogue to get it started. Then, she completely forgot about it and kept writing. Then, she completely forgot to get rid of it. That’s the impression I got from about 50% of the lines in this movie. I now feel confident in myself as a writer because I don’t write lines as bad as the lines in this film (guess that’s one positive thing I got from this trash). Like I said before, this film is just a collection of fights. Todd doesn’t even try to create a story. She’s just patting the runtime to make it long enough for a movie. Then she decides that there has to be an actual conflict and not just a continuing conflict known as Hardin. To do this, she decides to pull a random twist out of nowhere. I can’t even begin to tell you how stupid it is and how quickly this thing could’ve ended if they cut the entire storyline out. I am willing to bet so much money that the storyline isn’t even going to matter in the next movie. However, I won’t know because I’ve decided something. So after this review, I’ve decided that I am not going to support this franchise anymore. I don’t mean to sound so serious now, but I feel passionately about film and I feel like I am going against myself by covering this. I mean, I could have watched Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story but I chose this instead. West Side Story (2021) was a box office bomb and After We Fell is somehow a success, despite the fact they barely had a marketing campaign. And this time around, I paid money to watch this stupid movie. The last two times felt different because I just watched it on Netflix, but now I was giving the filmmakers money. I’m essentially contributing to this film’s success and giving Wattpad studios the impression that they need to make more and make them fast. This film was genuinely so bad that I actually felt passionate about making sure I don’t support this franchise anymore. But that’s just how I really feel about it. However, I know that I would’ve made it my mission to burn every copy of this movie I could find if they put Molly in it (also known as the worst character ever put in any media).