“After Love” (dir. Aleem Khan)
Mary (Joanna Scanlan) loved her Pakistani husband so much that she converted to Islam for him, and spent her life wearing a head scarf while living a quiet life in rural England. Genevieve was so enamored with a married man that she had a decades-long affair with him while raising his illegitimate child. When Mary’s husband dies and Genevieve begins to suspect that her lover isn’t returning, they’re drawn together by the shared experience of grieving the person you’ve given your life to — and by the fact that they’re both hung up over the same guy.
Aleem Khan’s feature directorial debut is a slow, meticulous examination of the role that devotion plays in our lives and the gaping void that can be left when you lose the basket with all your eggs in it. It’s an imperfect little film about the imperfect little relationships that life often thrusts us into at our lowest points and a reminder of how certain kinds of people can keep affecting us long after they’re buried. Anchored by Scanlan’s nuanced lead performance, the film ends up a beautiful, jagged exploration of the messy nature of being human. —CZ