Review: ‘Aftersun,’ one of the year’s great debut films, is a piercing father-daughter story about a family’s bond under siege.
The movie opens like a thriller, with a family moving into an old house that seems oddly uninhabited. They’re about to move into the dilapidated, old-fashioned house—a house that’s been in the family for generations, and that hasn’t been lived in for decades. It’s a foreboding place, with the feel of a haunted house, or a place with a history of ghosts and strange noises.
At least, that’s how it starts. The film then plunges into a deep, haunting drama about a family’s search for understanding and understanding the strange world around them. They’ve been a strange family ever since the death of the father of the family, the elder brother and only son who never spoke. He’d been murdered, and his entire generation was left to grieve him. There was talk that he’d been poisoned, and a rumor that he’d been the victim of some awful ritual, which the family was afraid would come to light. At any rate, he and his mother were taken from the house, and the rest of the family was moved out a mile away.
The son, a quiet, withdrawn boy, becomes withdrawn after his mother is taken from the house, and he has to live with his mother’s half sister in a trailer park by the river. He tries to be a good son to her, but she’s not interested in him, and he thinks he hasn’t made a real effort to reach out to her. At first she’s reluctant to have him live with her, but eventually she gives in, and they become friends. He tries to help her out, but she doesn’t recognize him. She thinks he is the ghost of his late father, and he’s had to learn how to be a man in a society that doesn’t understand. He’s often lonely and lost, but the world has never been kind to him.
He finally gets the news that he and his