Aftersun by Charlotte Wells – need to know

Charlotte Wells' celebrated debut is streaming on Binge in Australia this August – here's what you need to know.

What’s this?

As per the A24 Films website: At a fading vacation resort, 11-year-old Sophie treasures rare time together with her loving and idealistic father, Calum. As a world of adolescence creeps into view, beyond her eye Calum struggles under the weight of life outside of fatherhood. Twenty years later, Sophie’s tender recollections of their last holiday become a powerful and heartrending portrait of their relationship, as she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t, in Charlotte Wells’ superb and searingly emotional debut film.

Who’s in it?

Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio and Celia Rowlson-Hall.

Who directs Aftersun?

Charlotte Wells wrote and directed the film.

Will I cry?

Yes, probably. As was written in the Los Angeles Times:

Aftersun operates on a subliminal wavelength that leaves viewers unprepared for its slowly building poignancy, which is as haunting as the mysteries Sophie will never unravel about her troubled father.

How director and star create emotional power with glimpses of memories in ‘Aftersun’

Is there a trailer?

Do the critics like it?

They do. Aftersun currently has a 96% critics rating and 82% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Anthony Morris, writing for ScreenHub, gave it 4.5 stars, writing:

Writer-director Charlotte Wells brings a lightness of touch to just about every element of this film. Nothing here feels forced; the heavy burden of Sophie’s present day searching is presented in brief flashes of a packed dance floor, a dreamlike searching for her father in a crowd. On one level Aftersun is literally ‘what I did on my holidays’ presented with a vivid, almost documentary sense of time and place. It’s enthralling even when it’s rug shopping or losing goggles during a diving expedition.

Aftersun review: memories linger as all else fades

Any trivia?

As per IMDB:

Charlotte Wells stated in a recent interview that during the two weeks rehearsal period that the cast and crew had on set in Turkey, there were two read throughs of the script with just Wells, Paul Mescal (Calum) and Frankie Corio (Sophie). Wells also added that these scripts purposefully did not contain scenes which Mescal has alone, which focus in detail on the depression Calum is experiencing, so that Corio’s performance was naive to these facts, just as Sophie is.


Do say

Isn’t it great that we can sit here at home crying freely for ourselves, for each other, for all of humanity.

Don’t say

I might just go turn the heating down – my eyes seem to be sweating.

Where and when can I watch it?

Aftersun is streaming on Binge from 24 August 2023.

Read more Cheat Sheets on ScreenHub

Paul Dalgarno is author of the novels A Country of Eternal Light (2023) and Poly (2020); the memoir And You May Find Yourself (2015); and the creative non-fiction book Prudish Nation (2023). He was formerly Deputy Editor of The Conversation and joined ScreenHub as Managing Editor in 2022. X: @pauldalgarno. Insta: @dalgarnowrites