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after love

★★★★★

REVIEWER: nick tonkin

After Love is a powerful examination of one woman’s grief and her process through it following the loss of her husband of many years, and the discovery that he harboured a second family in secret across the channel in France.

 

Mary met Ahmed when she was a teenager in England, he was older; neither of their families approved. They absconded and she converted to Islam, and they made the journey to Pakistan to meet Ahmed’s familiy, and for Mary to learn about their life and ways. Decades spent together, through sacrifice, loss and happiness - surely a life well lived. In the days following Ahmed’s passing, Mary is barely starting to grasp the gravity of her loss and how her life will change, when she learns of Ahmed’s other family. His phone keeps ringing, G is wondering where he is.

 

Joanna Scanlan’s Mary is a masterwork of understatement of acting, as she conveys Mary’s utterly complex emotional process not through garish histrionics, but rather through a constantly convincing portrayal of a real person’s navigation through a situation like this.

 

After Love is director Aleem Khan’s debut film and demonstrates the director’s deep understanding of complex drama in film. This is certainly an impressive starting point in Khan’s career as a feature filmmaker. 

★★★★★