Paul Mescal heartbreakingly leads another A24 drama.
The “Normal People” breakout star appears in both “God’s Creatures” (out now) and “Aftersun,” two films set to be distributed by A24. Mescal plays a father adrift on a holiday alongside his 11-year-old daughter Sophie (Francesca Corio) in Turkey in the late 1990s. A present-day Sophie (Celia Rowlson-Hall) reflects over 20 years later on the tense trip with her father.
“Aftersun” premiered at 2022 Cannes’ Critics Week, marking writer/director Charlotte Wells’ feature debut. Scottish filmmaker Wells previously wrote and directed three short films while pursuing her master’s degree at New York University.
Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins produced “Aftersun” through his production company Pastel, which he co-founded with Adele Romanski and Mark Ceryak. Amy Jackson of Unified Theory also produced. Jenkins described crafting “Aftersun” as “organizing these memories into a devastating film that had me in the corner crying even though I have seen this shit six times” while at the 2022 Telluride Film Festival.
Lead star Mescal added, “There was just something about the way that Charlie wrote this because it felt to me like I wasn’t really aware of the politics of ‘you shouldn’t really be playing dads, you’re 26.’ I was like, ‘This is a fantastic character. I’m gonna get to go into the weeds with it.'”
Mescal said that learning how “to play a young man and young father at the same time” drew him to the film, but that “I don’t know how well it bodes going from, like, high school teenage drama to the young dad in the space of two years.”
“Aftersun” was financed by BBC Film, BFI, and Creative Scotland, in association with Tango Entertainment. Executive producers are Eva Yates for BBC Film, which also helped develop the film, Lizzie Francke for BFI, Kieran Hannigan for Creative Scotland, and Tim Headington and Lia Buman on behalf of Tango.
IndieWire’s David Ehrlich wrote in his A review for the film that “Aftersun” is a “sublime” work of art that “exists in a liminal space between memory and imagination that every viewer will have to locate for themselves.”
Ehrlich wrote, “Few movies have ever ended with a more tempting invitation to do something impossible, but ‘Aftersun’ is so unforgettable because of the agonizing beauty it finds in the futile act of trying.”
“Aftersun” premieres October 21.
Check out the trailer below.