The Aftermath (2019) Poster

(2019)

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7/10
Interesting at times, but neither a powerful romance nor an impressive historical drama
themadmovieman2 March 2019
This is a great example of how a film can try to juggle and blend two different genres, and despite never really getting either perfect, can still offer up interesting and engaging drama. As a result, The Aftermath is far from a perfect film, and its frustrating misfocus given the potential of its historical setting makes for an often underwhelming watch. However, it still has the elegance, dramatic intrigue and often even emotion to keep you engaged throughout, ultimately making for a thoroughly watchable, but not exceptional, film.

So, the two ideas and genres that the film attempts to balance and bring together are romantic drama and pure history, and it's the historical side that I'd like to start off with, because while the film features some fascinating historical themes, it also fails to capitalise on the genuinely enthralling potential of its setting.

Set in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, the film centres on the relations and tensions between the British occupiers and local German citizens, with emotions and suspicion still running high following six years of all-out war. In that, the film looks at both the continuing negative feelings between both peoples, brought to life early on by Keira Knightley, as well as the idea that, with the war over, there is no need for recriminations in the face of a rebuilding project for the better of all, which we see in Jason Clarke's character early on.

Now, while the movie does occasionally hit those beats in a little too on-the-nose (especially when compared with how the same ideas are presented in the brilliant Land Of Mine), it's not quite as clear-cut as you may expect. Subverting expectations by reversing the stereotypical roles and seeing the patriarch hold more sympathy to the Germans, with his wife holding onto more antagonistic feelings following the war, The Aftermath does offer up some genuinely intriguing historical discourse, which builds to fascinating and often even palpably tense heights towards the end of the first act.

However, the biggest disappointment about this film is that it doesn't follow through. Despite a strong start from the historical point of view, its second and third acts don't offer all that much more on the same plain, with focus shifting abruptly to a romance that, while perfectly pleasant and enjoyable, just doesn't have the depth or intrigue to prove really impressive.

Of course, that's not to say that the entire historical context goes out the window, and the romance that develops still focuses on the idea of relationships crossing political lines - similarly looked at in films like Suite Française. However, it's far closer to a generic period romance, rather than one that blends historical themes in to further what was developed earlier on.

As a result, the film grinds to a little bit of underwhelming halt as it edges towards a rather predictable finale. It's not a boring watch, and with strong performances from Keira Knightley, Jason Clarke and Alexander Skarsgård, there is still intrigue and entertainment to find, but it all feels a rather frustrating and disappointing approach given the potential of the opening act's historical focus.

If you're looking for a nice romantic drama, this film can prove an enjoyable watch, but you'll have to wait quite a while for the romance to start in earnest. On the flipside, if you're looking for a historical drama that depicts the aftermath of the Second World War (as I was), the film starts off in strong fashion, but its move towards romance later on will likely leave you disappointed.
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5/10
A film stuck in two minds but completing neither
muamba_eats_toast5 March 2019
The first hour set up the film excellently. However from that point the whole film felt torn between wanting to be an epic historical drama and a romantic drama whilst settling on either. Even at the end I had no idea what they were trying to accomplish with the film or what the supposed message was. Could have been a lot better had they settled on a theme. Still watchable but at the end all felt a little pointless.
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9/10
The Aftermath
victoriahowlett-092012 March 2019
Having read the book of the same name, I was prepared for the film to be different. And so it is. Whilst it is inevitable that the book's richly crafted depth could not be fully accommodated in the 100 or so minutes of the film, the finished cut is still satisfying not only on content but also visually. The performances by Knightley, Skarsgaad and Clarke were also of a high performance with Clarke delivering his strongest yet. The theme of forgiveness is run on several levels, simply but effectively. This is a story which will resonate with most. See the film and then read the book.
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7/10
A good romantic drama
mveal1 March 2019
I sought out The Aftermath primarily because of an interest in its setting, post war occupied Germany. What I found was a well made film, full of great performances. All of the characters in this film were emotionally wounded in some way and it was fascinating to watch them clash and interact.

A handsome and compelling production, I don't understand some of the poor reviews I've seen for this movie. Romantic films really aren't my thing but The Aftermath held my attention throughout its running time.

Great ending too.
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10/10
Beautiful Story from a lost period in history
karenpawsey20 March 2019
I loved this movie. The atmospheric portrayal of a defeated country that had lost so much and now had the added indignity of Foreign occupation but underneath just damaged people trying to rebuild their lives. It was entertaining and moving and thought provoking. The three main performances were excellent and I just wanted them all to win in a situation where that was impossible. It may not be a film critics choice, but I think it will be a film lovers one.
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6/10
The Aftermath lacks passion and romanticism within its illicit love triangle.
TheMovieDiorama15 March 2019
Certainly with every WWII film I review, I consistently state how saturated the genre is. Well, that's because it is. Every year we see four or five released, with many fairly formulaic. Whilst this bolsters a clichéd theme of betrayal and lust, it does however utilise its war-torn environment to encapsulate the struggles of both British forces and German civilians. After their arrival in the ruins of Hamburg, a British couple are forced to share a grand house with its previous owners who are German.

Acting as a microcosm for the conflict of interest against the two oppositions, the house is quickly divided into zones so that they don't interfere with each other. The colonel's absence only leads to his wife's longing for love, essentially turning enmity into passion. It's an interesting environment, and director Kent makes full use of each room to symbolise the loss of the luxurious lives that they once had. Both families have suffered from personal loss during the war, you're supposed to feel empathetic towards them, and occasionally you do. However due to Rachael mostly being portrayed as a selfish socialite, you somewhat feel distanced from her. It's a story about betrayal, yet her character's romance feels underdeveloped. The initial sexual tension was practically non-existent. It just happened. One moment she hates the Germans, the next in love with one. The change of pace made for a jarring transition, and that's without mentioning the several scenes of newly-discovered burnt bodies in Hamburg, acting as a heavy reminder that you are watching a war drama.

It all comes down to the screenplay which lacks that heft and meat to make these characters come to life. A dire shame as all three lead actors were exquisite. Knightley, in all her pouting glory, looked stunning and had one of the most beautiful scenes I've seen her act in. I genuinely felt raw vulnerability for her character as she breaks down whilst playing the piano. Both Clarke and Skarsgård supported her well and gave efficient performances. The costumes were delightful and Phipps' classical score was lovely to listen to, enhancing the grandeur of its central abode. Just the clichéd affair and its underdevelopment diminishes the central premise of this story. It's tasteful and occasionally exhumes steamy passion, which will quench the thirst for fans of the period drama sub-genre, but lacking that definable quality which will leave many wanting more. Watchable and enjoyable nonetheless.
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5/10
If you don't mind it's predictable then it's an okay watch
phd_travel15 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
If you accept this is a predictable old fashioned story which apart from the brief nudity could have been a 1950s drama, its an okay watch. Also this isn't much of a war movie so much as a movie about an affair with a backdrop of war damaged Hamburg and grieving for lost loved ones. No exciting battles just a few terrorist like attacks due to the German resentment for occupying forces. The CGI destroyed Hamburg is alright. Liked the house where they stay too. Very stately and attractive. Kiera is alright and looks good in the dresses of the time. It's so obvious when she has a husband played by less attractive actor like Jason Clarke, there is going to be a romance with the German staying in the attic. Alexander Skarsgaard doesn't act or speak too German maybe that's good - a bad fake accent is worse than no accent. Liked the part where he told the British soldier not too bang on his piano. The main elements of the movie is about when they are going to do it and then whether they will be caught. The occupying forces seem to have lots of parties. In a way predictable is okay at least there wasn't an irritating tragic death.
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10/10
Love thy enemy
Padreviews7 March 2019
Beautiful

Thought this was going to be a 9/10 and was ready to write my review as such but the ending changed that it's 10/10

If you enjoyed The English Patient you'll love this.

Set amongst the backdrop of the end of the Second World War in war ravaged Hamburg .

The story has a strong theme of forgivenesses shielded by the stiff upper lip of the English upper class .

The Socratic dialogue plays a strong part in examining right and wrong - in the end it doesn't matter who won the war - everyone lost and everyone has loss

The irony of the good guys killing more people than the bad guys and those who survive wanting revenge - but the central theme of forgiveness runs right through to the end and out of the destruction comes an opportunity for rebirth

Just beautiful

Pad.A 10/10
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8/10
Superb acting
tjandspallan12 March 2019
Keira Knightley is simply outstanding in this drama about a woman torn between two men at the end of WW2. Very much in the vein of a Merchant Ivory production; might seem old-fashioned by modern standards, but there is definitely a place for this type of film, which is largely missing from current productions. An enjoyable, moving and beautiful film.
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4/10
Me. And. My. Dooouble.
lachcatoknca8 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Meh movie.Two "bring on the body double" scenes.

1) After an establishing shot of Keira Knightly playing the piano a little bit, repeated cuts between her sitting behind the piano and a pair of disembodied arms and hands PLAYING the piano.

2) During a love scene, repeated cuts between Keira Knightly making her "O face" (thank you Office Space) and what I am almost certain is some other woman's topless torso.

Only interesting part was waiting to see WHO would get killed in the heavily telegraphed "somebody gonna die" climax of the movie.

So it wasn't an awful movie, but several times I did end up quietly laughing at parts that I wasn't supposed to be laughing at.
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4/10
A great concept, disappointingly presented.
travdougal25 March 2019
My father was one of the first British officers of the occupying forces...I was 4 when my mother and I travelled to join him in January 1947. I was hoping and expecting to see a film which encapsulated my memories, but much of it was overblown and inaccurate. Why on earth could they not get a decent German actor to play the German widower? Skarsgard stumbles through his German lines with a very poor accent...spoiling the whole reality. Very poor research in many areas.....not least to the use of two Union Jacks on the wings of the colonel's staff car, one of which was upside down ( Note, Mr Kent, the wide white part of the St Andrew's is always towards the base of the flagstaff). Thank goodness for Keira Kniightley....she rescued what would otherwise have been a total disaster
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5/10
Too predictable
dongegp7 March 2019
Photography and music are fantastic Lame story, designed for an easy tear. Wouldn't recommend it unless you have nothing else to do. Don't pay for it, wait for Netflix or Prime
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10/10
Loved it
emgillibrand7 March 2019
We absolutely loved this film. Kiera knightly was her usual brilliant self. Couldn't fault it
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2/10
Miss it
cristinamariemendes20 March 2019
There's honestly no reason for this movie to exist? The only interesting thing to add to the slog of WW2 movies would have been actually exploring the landscape of Germany post the war (with many movies about the time really ending once the was is "over"), but really this story is just using that possibly interesting story as a backdrop for a really trite and boring romance. A particularly tone deaf one in 2019 as well. No value in actually watching this movie.
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10/10
Beautifully written, directed and acted
spencerc22175 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I think this is a superb film dramatizing the moral complexity of relations immediately after the war between victor (the occupying British) and vanquished, who also in some respects, not all, have a point of view that deserves to be understood. A romantic drama with Brilliant production design of devastated Hamburg whc had been burned out by the RAF fire bombing in 1943. The acting, led by beautiful Kiera, is superb as is Kent's direction. Note for example his direction of the in-your-face occupiers' soirée in the German architect's mansion.
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10/10
It's as good as you hoped for!
MysteriousStain4 April 2019
Unless your soul is dead. And you hate subtlety. And you're saving your stars for the next Disney film. Yes that's a dig. But if you love this kind of film then you will love this film. It's all there. Beautiful acting, nice simple storyline, the romance, the hurt and the way people treat each other. Those who say it's boring need to wean themselves off the always-on world.
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9/10
Wonderful Period Piece
anne201030 March 2019
With a great story. Acting is really good, characters are well-developed, and period details are beautiful.
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6/10
nothing really... happened?
sophiamendes005 March 2019
When i read a short description of the movie, I immediately wanted to watch it. the aftermath of the war between the german and the english people, that will be interesting. well... it did not focus on that. this movie had the potential to be such a good movie, but they decided to focus way more on the relationship between the two (maybe three) main characters rather than focusing on that AND the war. don't get me wrong, the actors were really good and their storylines were... cute? adorable? i dont know. I just know that my first thought after the movie ended was "what really happened in this movie?". because you spend the entire two hours waiting for something big to happen, and it never does. However, at the same time, it was not a bad movie. I do realize that my comment here is rather negative, but, like I said, the actors' performance make up for the lack of focus on the real subject of this movie. if you like romantic movies, you'll like this one (even though you might get mad at Keira's character, JUST A WARNING!). but, if you like war movies, don't watch it. you might get (reallyyyyy) disappointed
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5/10
Slow melodrama
Fudge-33 March 2019
Rachael Morgan moves to Hamburg to join her husband Lewis, a British army officer, during clean-up operations in the aftermath of the Second World War. A grand house is requisitioned for them to live in while the German owners have to live in the attic.

There is a love triangle and a predictable melodrama. The acting and scenery is great. The portrayal of the difficult life in Germany after the war is well shown and makes for a dramatic backdrop. It deserved a better film. But the story so leisurely unfolds that it lost me and after an hour the only thing I was interested in was the background.

If the story had been more closely shot in the ruins of the city then it might have improved. But the fancy living in the grand house in its perfect grounds insulated the story and the audience from its historical setting.

There are a couple of strong sex scenes, occasional serious violence and some bad language. Only patient adults are likely to have the temperament for it.
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8/10
More than worth it
raysar29 March 2019
This is it a "movie" but a film with many layers and very very good writing. Sometimes movie reviewers get it very wrong, and this is one of those times. It all starts with a great story, and if that isn't present then nothing else matters. This has a great story, with rich dialogue, and excellent acting by the 4 main characters. Keira Knightly shines yet again as she did in Collette, which was overlooked for the Golden Globes and the Oscars. See this movie without hesitation.................
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8/10
Better than I thought it would be, the trailers did not do it justice
coombsstephen17 March 2019
I was pleasantly surprised by this film. After seeing the trailers it looked quite an obvious film and didn't really look one for me, so I was glad I went to see it.

It is set in a post Second World War era very much ignored by film but does a good job showing how hard it must have been.

The plot is good and the story has some clever unforeseen twists. The pace of the film is about right and the acting and setting iare both quite good.

It is well worth a watch, You certainly get some empathy for the characters.
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6/10
Worth watching once, despite unengaging central characters
euroGary5 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
'The Aftermath' is based on Rhidian Brook's novel, which is itself based on Brook's childhood experiences in Germany soon after the Second World War, although I understand it is largely a work of fiction - just as well, because otherwise Brook is washing some very dirty family linen in public.

A few months after VE Day, Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) arrives in Hamburg to join her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke), who is serving as military governor. Hamburg is a shattered city, but on its outskirts is an undamaged, luxurious house own by widower Stefan Lubert and his teenaged daughter Freda. The house is requisitioned by the British military for the Morgans' use, but Lewis takes the unusual decision that the Luberts can continue living there. Stefan is cultured, charming and, as he is played by Alexander Skarsgård, a lot closer to Knightley's league in terms of looks than the more heavy-set Clarke. The rules of fiction dictate, therefore, that Rachael's icy resolve will soon give way and she will fall willingly into Stefan's arms. Stefan becomes so engrossed in Rachael that he is unaware Freda is becoming similarly engrossed in a handsome, but disturbingly intense, young left-over Nazi...

This is a good-looking film, with some cleverly-staged sequences: for instance, when Rachael and Lewis have an emotionally-charged discussion at a regimental dinner-dance, director James Kent silences the music and the chatter of other dancers, focussing the viewer's attention solely on the couple's words. But it is hard to engage with Rachael and Stefan: both have back-stories that should invoke sympathy: Rachael's young son was killed in the Blitz (allowing Knightley to turn in some good acting as she breaks down at the memory) and Stefan's wife died in the Allied bombing that destroyed Hamburg. But they are both so proper and correct (a couple of frantic couplings aside) that it is hard to find them interesting. By contrast, Lewis is a more fully-rounded character: the stereotypical stiff upper-lipped Briton with his wife, but showing real concern for the plight of the defeated Germans and almost uncontrollable anger when confronted by a taunting Nazi.

Another issue with the film is that so much attention is paid to the undeniably awful conditions in which Hamburg's citizens were forced to live following the Allied bombing - and the attitude of many of the British supporting characters is so boorish - that it is almost as if the film is trying to say it was the Allies, instead of the Axis, that were the aggressors of the Second World War.

So this could have been better, but it was worth watching once.
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2/10
Nothing to see hear
bogeyman78614 March 2019
If you want to hear Knightly whimper for 90 mins look no further. No story line. Pointless movie. If it wasn't for the location/set it would have got 1/10
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1/10
Absolutely ridiculous storyline
thebeard-532327 March 2019
This is without doubt the most ridiculous unbelievable storyline of any movie I have ever seen.

Avoid at any cost...

Absolute to level bbc rubbish
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7/10
a modest film,well acted,script could have been better.
ib011f9545i2 March 2019
To enjoy this film it helps to know that Britain,USA,France and the USSR occupied Germany after world war 2. I assume every potential viewer does not know this?

This is a well acted historical/romance drama. I think that the characters are overdressed at times,Keira is very well dressed which we might expect but the German lodger (Skarsgard) has a crazy amount of new looking outfits.

No plot spoilers but this is a touching human story.
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