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The Aftermath (2019)

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2:16 | Trailer
Post World War II, a British colonel and his wife are assigned to live in Hamburg during the post-war reconstruction, but tensions arise with the German who previously owned the house.

Director:

James Kent
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78 ( 1,052)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Keira Knightley ... Rachael Morgan
Ned Wills Ned Wills ... Boy on Train
Pandora Colin Pandora Colin ... Mother on Train
Jason Clarke ... Lewis Morgan
Anna Katharina Schimrigk ... Heike
Jack Laskey ... Wilkins
Fionn O'Shea ... Barker
Kate Phillips ... Susan
Martin Compston ... Burnham
Alexander Skarsgård ... Stephen Lubert
Mirco Kuball Mirco Kuball ... Soldier
Rosa Enskat Rosa Enskat ... Greta
Frederick Preston ... Michael Morgan
Flora Thiemann ... Freda Lubert
Monika Foris Kvasnicková ... German Woman
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Storyline

Set in postwar Germany in 1946, Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) arrives in the ruins of Hamburg in the bitter winter, to be reunited with her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke), a British colonel charged with rebuilding the shattered city. But as they set off for their new home, Rachael is stunned to discover that Lewis has made an unexpected decision: They will be sharing the grand house with its previous owners, a German widower (Alexander Skarsgård) and his troubled daughter. In this charged atmosphere, enmity and grief give way to passion and betrayal. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content/nudity, and violence including some disturbing images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

UK | Germany | USA

Language:

English | Russian

Release Date:

15 March 2019 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Aftermath See more »

Filming Locations:

Prague, Czech Republic See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$56,419, 17 March 2019, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,618,497, 2 May 2019
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color | Color (HD)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Keira Knightly uses a body double for the nude scenes in the film. See more »

Goofs

In a scene a recording of Sanson and Dalilah's Aria "Mon Coeur S'Ouvre a ta Voix" is credited to be sung by Maria Callas (and indeed sounds like her) but so far I cannot find so early a recording of this aria by La Callas (late 45/early 46). See more »

Alternate Versions

For the film's Australian release, the distributor chose to make reductions to stronger sexual detail in two scenes in order to obtain an M classification. The uncut version of the film was later released with an MA15+ classification for a DVD/Video release. See more »


Soundtracks

It Could Happen To You
Performed by Jo Stafford
Written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
a portrait of unresolvable grief
5 May 2019 | by CineMuseFilmsSee all my reviews

There are many reasons a beautifully made film like The Aftermath (2019) ends up critically panned. Some describe it as slow, melodramatic, and predictable, but such labels often reflect unfulfilled viewer expectations rather than an ill-conceived or poorly executed film.

Set in 1946, the plotline is straightforward with few surprises other than its final moments. It opens with British Colonel Lewis Morgan (Jason Clarke) and his wife Rachel (Keira Knightley) arriving in the devasted city of Hamburg to restore law and order, as well as to root out remaining Nazi sympathisers. The thoroughly middle-class Morgans have requisitioned a stately mansion owned by architect Stephan Lubert (Alexander Skarsgárd) and his rebellious daughter Freda (Flora Thiemann). Lewis is a compassionate man who cannot bear to send the Luberts to a squalid refugee camp and invites them to stay in the attic, setting the tension lines that drive the film. When someone remarks that more bombs were dropped on Hamburg in one week than were dropped on London in one year, we enter an inverted moral paradigm where the line between victory and vanquished turns grey.

The slow start has a purpose. Few films respectfully explore the humiliation of defeat and many viewers would ask 'why should they'? The Aftermath dwells on prolonged moments where the victor strolls in and takes over the home of the vanquished; where a population is deliberately starved to keep them compliant; where a once-proud culture must confront its inner demons. Deep unresolvable grief permeates the city as well as the lives of the Morgans and the Luberts. Both lost loved ones and the times are not sympathetic to healing. In the middle of this swirling emotional vortex, a classic 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' sub-plot becomes the narrative device for rebuilding lives.

This film stands out in the war-drama genre because of its nuanced portrait of the immediate aftermath of the Allied occupation of Germany. It reeks of period authenticity in ways that only British films can do. The stunning cinematography captures the horror of the immediate post-war period without the usual reliance on the tropes of military casuality and destruction. Knightley and Clarke's performances are outstanding, while Skarsgárd adequately fills the role of a grieving, if over-confident, romantic antagonist. As happens so often, Knightley's commanding presence and extraordinary range of emotional versatility stamps her ownership all over the film.

If history is only written by winners it will always only be half-true. The Aftermath is an essay about the other half, blending sufficient historical insight into a romantic drama to hold our interest without emotional sledgehammers. There are minor lapses of pace, maybe a narrative digression or two that dilutes momentum; but overall, this is a satisfying film that takes an uncommon view on unexplored cinematic territory.


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