Film Review: After We Collided

Anna Todd’s 2014 fan fiction – based on One Direction – comes to life once again in the much-anticipated sequel After We Collided.

For those not familiar with its predecessor After, this is the story of good girl Tessa (Josephine Langford) and bad boy Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin). Here is the low down on what you have missed: Tessa is the new girl in town. After moving to Washington State for university, Tessa meets her new roommate Steph – who her mother disapproves of. As she starts her studies, she meets new friend Landon as well.

However, she doesn’t realise her life is about to change when she meets Hardin – Steph’s friend. At first Tessa despises him, but somehow, they have a spark and they act on this spark. After a whirlwind romance, it is revealed Tessa was a bet for Hardin the whole time and this is where we begin in the sequel – one month later.

This time we are told their story through Hardin. As he continually tries to contact Tessa, he has no luck. Whilst all this is going on, Tessa finally starts her internship at Vance. As she attends a night out with her new work colleagues – including newcomer Trevor (Dylan Sprouse) – she gets rather intoxicated and rings Hardin to tell him what he’s missing out on.

Hardin being Hardin tracks her down to her hotel room, one thing leads to another and well, you know what happens next… To no surprise at all, Tessa regrets sleeping with Hardin. After time passes, Tessa eventually goes back to retrieve her stuff from her apartment with Hardin, however by coincidence he turns up with a stranger and this stranger is in fact his mother!

Unbeknown to his mother of their problems, Tessa acts as if she is still with Hardin. From that moment on, their spark is once again ignited, and their relationship only grows from there. However, this is Hardin and Tessa we are on about, so it is never going to be plain sailing. With obstacles in their way, their love for each other is tested but will it survive? It is for you to watch and find out…

If you read the original fan fiction for After, then you will remember the intensity of the love felt between Tessa and Hardin. Especially in the sequel, this intensity increases, and I can happily say this passion returned in this film. When Tessa and Hardin are reunited in the hotel – despite Tessa being drunk – their desperation for each other is undeniable. Whether that’s through their closeness to each other, their touch or even their eye contact, every little detail goes hand in hand to portray this passion that is familiar to us in the book.

As well as this – just like the first film in the series – the soundtrack fits in perfectly with the scenes on screen. This time round, we see music from the likes of Dove Cameron, The Fray and Little Mix. A standout track is Little Mix’s “Love Me or Leave Me” from their 2015 album “Get Weird”. At this moment in the film, Tessa and Hardin are a part, so this song fits in perfectly with the heartbreak both of them are feeling.

After Star Hero Fiennes Tiffin Almost Pursued Landscaping Instead of Acting  | W Magazine | Women's Fashion & Celebrity News
Hero Fiennes Tiffin
Image credit: W Magazine

In the first film, it felt as if the cast for this fan fiction didn’t fit, so in a way it disappointed some of the fans who had been desperately waiting to see it on screen. However, in the sequel the cast finally fit in well and one is Hero Fiennes Tiffin as Hardin.

What he does well in this film is show us the Hardin we all know from the books. We see the more sensitive side to Hardin this time round as he brings his guard down – including his true feelings towards Tessa and his past trauma involving his father.

However, a pitfall to this sequel is one scene. After staying and meeting Hardin’s mother, Tessa goes back home for her birthday to see her mother. However, to her surprise when she arrives, her ex-boyfriend Noah is there. After a very peculiar hug – where Noah weirdly smells Tessa’s hair – Noah receives a call from Tessa’s mother, and it slips out there is a secret about Tessa’s father she doesn’t know.

For some reason, this whole scene felt out of place and although this is included in the book, it felt like it was pointless to include it as it was not only a short scene but the acting in this scene was not on par with the rest of the movie. Alongside this pitfall, Hardin swears a lot more than he did in the first film and although this fits in with his personality, it still feels like it is overused…

Ultimately, After We Collided fulfils the need to regain this passionate feeling we felt in the book. Alongside a fitting soundtrack, this film is both a whirlwind and tearjerker at the same time.

By Katie Green

Feature image: Medium

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