Currently in theaters After Sun is one of the best surprises 2022 has to offer. A riveting debut from Charlotte Wells and featuring heartwarming performances from Paul Mescal and young Frankie Corio, the film weaves together past and present in memories both real and imagined as now-adult Sophie reflects on the vacation she she grappled with her father when she was a child, in an attempt to reconcile the father she knew with the man she did not know.
Emotionally charged and sometimes devastating, After Sun offers many insightful quotes that will inspire viewers to reflect on the life and relationships that move us.
“When you were 11, what did you think you were doing now? »
The film opens with a sweet and sincere dialogue between Sophie and Calum. Seemingly innocent words gradually have a huge impact on Calum, especially when his daughter asks him what he thought he would do at his age, when he was 11.
Her face turns cold and the scene cuts, only to return later in the film and reveal that Sophie’s question is actually a pivotal moment in the trip; a moment that really stuck with Calum as he reflects on the choices he’s made in the past. It all comes down to how the responsibility of being a young father really breaks it.
“I think it’s good that we share the same sky.”
After Sun can really feel like a sensory movie at times, and this scene is the best example of that. As she lays by the pool with her dad, Sophie candidly shares how wonderful it is that they can both see the same sun even though they’re not in the same place.
It’s a great showcase of generational differences as Sophie feels so fascinated by its achievement while Calum fails to grasp its beauty. It’s both a comforting and devastating quote when you take into account the future Sophie, now revolted and sad because of the distance that separates her from Calum. In the end, sharing the same sun is the only thing that keeps them together.
“How come you and mom say ‘I love you’?”
There are many things that a child’s mind cannot quite comprehend and intimacy is one of them. Calum and Sophie’s mother have clearly separated and are no longer in love, yet they have shared a treasured bond since Sophie was born. Although they are no longer romantically together, there is a shared love and joy that will always be present, a clear showcase of how love never truly leaves.
Calum is inconsistent when he tries to explain to Sophie why he and his mom say “I love you” to each other because he himself doesn’t really understand, it’s just natural. “Your mother is part of the family,” he says, and that should settle the matter.
“I don’t see myself at 40, to be honest”
After Sun provides viewers with no answers that cannot be found in Sophie and Calum’s journey. Even then, even though it’s clear that Calum is in trouble, viewers never really understand what is causing him so much pain and how it will affect him in the future. From the older Sophie’s perspective, it’s obvious that Calum is no longer present in her life and one way of looking at it is to assume that the distance, both physical and emotional, between the two has simply become something. unbearable for both.
Another way to look at it, however, is that Calum may have died by suicide and this quote might be the only time he puts his despair into words in the film. What’s even more painful is realizing he’s saying this after the man he was talking to has left, implying it’s a confession to himself.
“I just feel a little depressed or something.”
After Sun explores between the lines of joy and a state of mind filled with existential dread, somewhat melancholic, even if there is no reason for it at this particular moment. Everything seems to hit Calum harder than he expected, in a way he often feels like the child in the father-daughter relationship.
Well, every parent was once a child and maybe the child in them never leaves. When Sophie talks about feeling depressed for no apparent reason after an amazing day and feeling like she’s sinking and consumed by fatigue, she seems to be describing exactly how Calum feels, and that breaks him a bit. Moments like this make the movie the the saddest movies of recent years.
“Each of these rugs tells a different story”
Just as the man in the store says that each rug tells a different story, Calum prepares to tell his own story in one of them. The seemingly innocent line foreshadows the importance the carpet will have in Sophie’s life in the future, one of the few tangible things from her father that she keeps with her in the future.
After Sun counts on a lot of beautiful symbols and the mat bought by Calum is one of them. He is drawn to her, almost as if he knows how important she will be to his daughter. His story will be there.
“You can live where you want to live.”
In a sweet and honest moment between father and daughter, Calum seems fascinated by Sophie’s innocence. The whole scene is beautifully designed; the song being played fades into the background to give way to a solemn calm. Calum gently strokes Sophie’s head and seems lost in thought almost as if he’s talking more to himself than to his daughter.
There is a certain sadness in these lines as if he had omitted something. While Calum looks smitten and captivated by his daughter in this scene, it sounds like what he really meant was “luckily you’re not like me.”
“Offer to pay something when you have no money.”
Everything starts to go wrong between Calum and Sophie the day before his birthday. His mood is fickle, he seems distant, and in one of the most heartbreaking scenes in After SunSophie signs them both up for a karaoke contest, and he stubbornly refuses, leaving Sophie to sing alone on stage.
When he returns, Calum says the cruelest thing a father could say to his daughter, undermining her worth by saying she didn’t do well on stage. She, in return, says the cruelest thing a daughter can say to a father as if what he gives her is never enough. They were both angry, of course, but Sophie’s words are devastating for Calum, especially as he struggles with the possibility of not being the father she needs.
“I want you to know that you can talk to me about anything”
After Sun offers fascinating insight into fatherhood and this scene is one that really stands out. Calum himself is quite young and sometimes struggles to understand his role as a father, but one thing in his favor is how open and direct he is with Sophie. They trust each other and, above all, he wants her to know that she can talk to him about anything. She can talk about the times she is wrong, the parties she goes to, the boys she meets, etc.
The scene is sweet but also melancholy because at this point in the film, viewers know that Calum hasn’t stayed the way he should. Even though Sophie told him all these things as she got older, it’s quite possible that he couldn’t keep his promise to listen to her.
“There’s this feeling, once you leave where you grew up, that you don’t totally belong there anymore.”
In one of the film’s most intimate moments, Calum opens up to Sophie after she asks him if he plans to return to Scotland, triggering bruises from the past. Wholeheartedly, Calum says he never felt like he really belonged where he grew up, while Sophie, on the other hand, says “it’s home”.
The whole scene is a pivotal moment in understanding Calum’s inner battle. He fights inner battles, but exactly against what is never revealed. With this line, it becomes apparent how hard he is trying to run from his past, and sadly, Sophie will end up suffering for it.