Australian Council on Children and the Media

After

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Short takes

Not suitable under 15. Parental guidance to 18.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for After
  • a review of After completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 July 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children over the age of 13 After is not suitable for children under 15 due to sex scenes and themes. Parental guidance is recommended to 18 due to some of the potentially harmful messages contained in the film.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: After
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Sex scenes
Length 106 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Tessa (Josephine Langford) has always been the perfect daughter, following the plan that her mother, Carol (Selma Blair), has laid out for her life. Tessa is kind and studious, steadily dating Noah (Dylan Arnold), the same boy she has known since she was five; she is well grounded, responsible and trustworthy. It is this trust in her daughter that allows Carol to leave Tessa in a College dorm room that reeks of marijuana with her heavily pierced and tattooed, openly lesbian, partying roommate Steph (Khadijha Red Thunder). Tessa, the innocent and sensible, appears to be the embodiment of everything that Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) is not. When the two first meet it is anything but love at first sight. In fact Hardin does not believe in love at all and after Tessa refuses to kiss him as part of a wild, party game he vows to his friends that he will make her fall in love with him and once she is under his spell he will simply turn off the emotion. Despite the fact that he doesn’t always treat her very well Tessa succumbs to her attraction for him and they begin spending more and more time together. It is only after Tessa and Hardin make love that Tessa discovers the truth behind the origins of their relationship and Hardin realizes that true love does exist, that he had it with Tessa all along and that he may have lost it forever.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Family breakdown, college life, toxic relationships, first love, losing ones virginity, independence, trust and friendship.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • During a game at a bonfire a male character leans in to kiss Tessa. Noah tells the guy not to do it and Hardin jumps up, grabs the guy and they begin rolling on the ground punching each other.
  • Hardin, after an argument with his father, smashes things in his kitchen. The scene is not shown, only the aftermath of broken glass and flowers strewn across the counter tops and floor.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • There are no additional scenes that would likely scare or disturb children in this age group.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • There are no additional scenes that would likely scare or disturb children in this age group.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • There are no additional scenes that would likely scare or disturb children in this age group.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • There are no additional scenes that would likely scare or disturb children in this age group.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • A number of classic books are mentioned, shown or discussed throughout the film including: Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Tessa is asked what the craziest place she has ever had sex is and when she declines to answer a girl mocks her for being a virgin.
  • As Hardin’s hands explore Tess’s chest and she breathes heavily he asks if she has ever been touched before.
  • Oral sex is alluded to but not shown.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Steph and her female friend wear skimpy tight tops, high cut shorts with netted stockings and outfits that leave little to the imagination. They kiss each other at parties and in one scene they fall onto a bed, remove shirts and kiss passionately while lying on top of each other. Bras and short shorts are left on.
  • Hardin strips down to his underwear to go swimming with Tessa. She joins him wearing his shirt over her bra and panties and they circle each other in the water slowly building up to their first kiss. When they get out of the water his hand slowly slides down her chest, over her breast and lifts up her shirt exposing her midriff he begins to slide his fingers into her underwear and then stops.
  • In a dream Hardin’s hands make their way down Tessa’s chest again.
  • Hardin and Tessa kiss passionately in his bed. He takes off his shirt and lies on top of her. He slowly undoes her jeans and pulls her pants off kissing her bare legs. They are shown lying together in their underwear.
  • There are a number of scenes where Hardin and Tessa kiss passionately. In one such scene Hardin undoes his zipper and slowly moves down between Tessa’s legs.
  • After a party Tessa tells Hardin that she wants him. She unzips her dress and lets it fall to the floor exposing her bare back. They fall onto the bed, both apparently naked though nothing explicit is shown. Hardin holds up a condom and asks Tessa if she is sure. She says that she is. Hardin moves rhythmically and the camera is largely focussed on Tessa’s face to tell what is happening while they make love. When she expresses pain, he asks if she wants him to stop but she says, “No. Just go slow.”

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • There are numerous party scenes where characters are shown drinking, smoking and vaping.
  • Tessa is pressured to drink even though she says she doesn’t want to. Eventually she gives in and drinks straight from a large bottle that looks like in may contain vodka.
  • Tessa’s mom mentions that her dorm room reeks of weed.
  • Hardin, who also claims not to drink, gets drunk one night in a fit of jealousy.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • use of the words “shit” “hell” and “damn.”

In a nutshell

After is a romantic drama based on the book series by Anna Todd. The main actors give heartfelt performances and the film will most likely appeal to female teen audiences.

The main messages from this movie are that true love does exist, that you should be careful who you trust and that you should be allowed to find yourself and make your own mistakes.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Compassion
  • Responsibility
  • Independence
  • Forgiveness

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as

  • Allowing yourself to be treated poorly in a relationship.
  • Cheating on a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  • Drinking (or taking drugs) due to peer pressure.
  • Having sexual relationships before you are fully acquainted with the other person’s character.

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