FILM REVIEW: Aftersun starring Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio

By Aline Mahrud


Star Mescal won our Best TV/Film Actor monsta in 2020 for his portrayal of tortured Irish student Connell in Normal People and here he plays a 30-year-old father on holiday in Turkey with his 11-year-old daughter.

  • Read on for reasons including how to see Paul Mescal on the London stage this winter

There’s little to signify that this is set in the 90s except perhaps the use of a payphone and a soundtrack boasting such hits of the time including Macarena, Tender by Blur and Road Rage by Catatonia.

Mescal’s chemistry with Frankie Corio, the actress playing his daughter, is remarkable and even other characters mistake them for brother and sister such is the apparent lack of difference between the 2 certainly physically and perhaps even emotionally.

If you’ve not already heard it, do seek out Simon Mayo’s interview with Mescal for monsta-shortlisted podcast Kermode and Mayo’s Take about what attracted him to a screenplay in which words are sparse but visuals speak volumes.

Writer/director Charlotte Wells occasionally shows us in shadow in some of the home camera footage featured here a mysterious woman who is seemingly interrogating what we are being shown which raises our fears about what is about to happen but also makes us examine more intently what we are seeing.

Corio’s character is on the cusp of adolescence and just discovering her sexuality and at the same time there are clues that all is not well with her father who is estranged from the child’s mother, struggling to hold down a new relationship, seemingly between jobs and having financial difficulties.

Mescal covered similar emotional territory in Normal People and is very convincing at appearing to be gliding through the water above its surface but frantically struggling to keep his legs moving below it to keep afloat.

No spoilers but this is a haunting film that has stayed with us for days after seeing it and it is then perhaps no wonder that we find out on 4 December whether it has won any of the 16 British Independent Film Awards (BIFAs) it has been nominated for.

Back in May at the Cannes Film Festival it was also the recipient of French Touch Prize of the Jury.

It’s a beautifully crafted film with 2 standout performances at its heart which make us all the more excited to be seeing Mescal onstage in December for Streetcar Named Desire at the Almeida. Tickets

  • Main picture via Facebook courtesy Aftersun Tickets
  • Have you seen Paul Mescal on screen or onstage before and what did you think of this film? Let us know what you thought in the comments below
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow monstagigz on Twitter @NeilDurham, email and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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