Heartache on the big screen and in the pages- “After”

By: Kaitlyn Kuzara

NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y.- On April 12, 2019, the film “After” was released into theaters and since then its access has spread to Netflix as of Oct. 9.

The film was based off of a novel written by Anna Todd that became an official paperback in 2014, a year after her original fan-fiction version was released in 2013.  

Due to an abundance of changes the filmmakers made in order to spread its demographics past its fan-fiction fans, the film held little relation to its literary counterpart. These changes completely altered the foundation in which “After” was based off, its characters included.

Tessa Young is a bright young girl whose life was forever changed during her first semester at WSU, when she met the infamous British bad boy Hardin Scott. The “After” series takes the reader through the rollercoaster ride of their relationship, every up and down and sickening twist leads to one’s stomach in knots. The film inadvertently had none of this. The intense flame of their relationship is but a mere flicker in the movie. 

Tessa wasn’t the same driven and hardworking book-nerd that I loved. The spark that Hardin brought out in her, the one that caused her to finally stand up to her overbearing mother was gone and all that remained was the perceived disobedient and ungrateful daughter the film had made her out to be. It made Tessa appear to be a promiscuous cheater who fell prey to peer pressure, when in the book she is a girl with the strength of a thousand men; a girl who bares the weight of not only Hardin’s past, but her own as well.

Hardin Scott left a bitter taste as the film left no room for the amount of character development he went through in the novel. Hardin had his reader soaking the pages in tears, clinging to the novel with all of their might as if to try and fix the broken man. The book later to be found on the floor after being flung to the wall in anger at his overwhelming stupidity. He was such a complex character and meaning could be found in everything he did. It was a disappointment to find none of this in the film. Instead, the bond they shared through literature was exaggerated and turned the complex character into a misunderstood book-nerd.

The film did have some strengths but overall did little justice to Anna Todd’s work and in my eyes, completely altered the story she worked so hard to create.

Anna Todd is a fantastic writer and I just wish the filmmakers would have seen that and created the real “After.”

Featured Image: “05.31.06” by Urthstripe is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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