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The Hollywood Insider After We Fell Review

Photo: ‘After We Fell’

Directed by Castille Landon, this is the third move in the ‘After’ series, based on the book series by Anna Todd. The films center around Tessa Young, a dedicated and ambitious student who enters college with her high school sweetheart but ends up leaving everything behind. As she falls in love with mysterious and exciting Hardin Scott, she opens up her heart and consequently her mind, changing her life forever. 

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Where Did We Leave Off? 

Throughout the books and now films, she and Hardin experience a unique love story, full of heartbreak and firsts and all of the in-between that comes with young love. The first film ends with her questioning the validity of their relationship after finding out that it started as a bet between Hardin and his friends. The second film resolves their issues, demonstrating how despite their misunderstandings and fights, their love for one another trumps all. 

The third movie, ‘After We Fell,’ revolves around Tessa and some life-changing decisions she makes. Despite her undying love for Hardin, we have to see whether their relationship will withstand the test of time and the test of a changing life. According to avid fans of the books, this would be a difficult assignment, and Castille London, the director, would be faced with a challenge. 

Strengths of ‘After We Fell’

The relationship dynamic between Hardin and Tessa was most authentic to the novels in this film. It carried the passion and unfettered obsession that the couple is known for, allowing us to understand the breadth of their love. 

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Unfortunately, with almost a two-hour runtime, the beginning of the film was a bit chaotic and unfocused. With the characters and the plot running in circles, it was difficult to find a center and purpose until the second half of ‘After We Fell.’ This created a rushed and unrelaxed feeling, where it was a race to fit as many book-accurate seasons as possible. 

The strongest scenes took place in the city of London, with Tessa and Hardin fitting in beautifully into the picturesque and romantic atmosphere of Hardin’s hometown. It reflected a more innocent and wholesome part of their love, the part that appreciates their youth and naivety. Josephine Langford, who plays Tessa, and Hero Fiennes Tiffin, who plays Hardin continued to have great on-screen chemistry and despite the corniness of the series, their acting reflects the silly but entertaining vibe of the film. 

Recasting: The Good and The Bad

A lot of other characters were recast, the only other original cast members other than Langford and Fiennes Tiffin being Rob Estes, who plays Ken, and Louise Lombard, who plays Trish. Landon, Tessa’s best friend is now played by Chance Perdomo. While he plays his role well, sometimes his main purpose was just to act as comedic relief and nothing else. The good news is, his chemistry with best friend Tessa was on point. Vance, played by Stephen Moyer was perhaps the best cast out of all the new additions. His interactions and relationship with Hero were great and despite his recent introduction into the series, it felt like the two had been pair from the start. 

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Arielle Kebbel played a great Kimberly as well, fulfilling the role of a mentor perfectly and providing us with that maternal relationship between Kimberly and Tessa that we adore in the books. Louise Lombard’s rendition of Hardin’s mom was also one to appreciate, her energy and flamboyance perfectly encapsulating the essence of Trish Scott. Her light onscreen presence as well as the way she humbled Hardin made for a mother/son relationship we couldn’t help swooning over. 

Credit should also be given to the child actors in the movie, who were underutilized throughout the story. Smith, played by Anton Kottas, has a traditionally strong relationship with Hardin in the books but unfortunately, that was missing in this movie. The young Tessa also had a difficult job of opening up the film in a provocative and emotional way, telling the story of Richard, her father, leaving Tessa at a young age. It set the tone for Tessa’s relationship with her father and recaptured the audience’s attention after the hiatus from the second film. 

Chemistry Between Josephine Langford and Hero Fiennes Tiffin 

Josephine Langford has and always will be the perfect Tessa, which was reaffirmed in this installation of the ‘After’ series. She truly embodies the evolution of Tessa, growing from an innocent and insecure college freshman, into a mature woman who is making decisions for herself and her future. Especially in ‘After We Fell,’ Tessa falls into her skin, and Langford nails that transformation.

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Similarly, Fiennes Tiffin fits the bad-boy with a soft heart archetype that Hardin is, with the dark hair and brooding eyes. This movie was one of his best performances as Hardin yet, allowing Fiennes Tiffin to create a vulnerable and emotionally rich character rather than the one-dimensional pretty boy we see in the first film. 

‘After We Fell’ Cinematography 

The cinematography stuns as well, with beautiful sequences in London and shots in Bulgaria, where they filmed a chunk of the movie. The scenery and beautiful landscapes added to the picturesque style of the film and Castille London made sure to emphasize that by upholding a bright tone throughout the movie. 

Plot-wise, the focus on Hardin and Tessa’s education added a sense of realism that was lacking before. Watching them interact about college and their studies and futures made it not just more believable but more applicable to all our lives as well. 

The movie ended just as emotionally as it began, leaving us begging for more of Tessa and Hardin while also remaining pitiful that the series is slowly coming to an end. Maybe ‘After We Fell,’ wasn’t perfect but it gave us the love story we wanted, and watching Tess and Hardin grow and love one another remains to be the best and strongest driving force for these films.

You can watch this movie in limited theaters now or on Netflix to prepare for the next installation based on the ‘After’ series by Anna Todd!

By Mireille Karadanaian

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