The Aftermath (2019) Poster

(II) (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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8/10
a portrait of unresolvable grief
CineMuseFilms5 May 2019
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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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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5/10
British soldiers, native Germans ... and a Steinway
FrenchEddieFelson1 May 2019
In the aftermath of the Second World War, in Hamburg, a house belonging to a German architect is requisitioned by the British army to welcome a couple coming from London, whose husband is a colonel. This British couple recently lost their only son during a German bombing in London, while the German architect is the father of a fifteen-years-old daughter and is recently widowed following an Allied bombing. The German family is supposed to leave the house but the British colonel will affably offer them to stay, provided they occupy the attic. And then ...

Pros: the costumes, the cars, the interior decoration, the sets, the photography, ... This film is extremely refined and a visual treat. In addition, the actors play excellently. The final scene in which Lewis Morgan justifies his behavior as a 'failing' husband is particularly moving.

Cons: the almost laughable script. The story between Rachael and Stephen is literally incredible. In my humble opinion, this affair should have started after, and only after the piano scene between Rachael and Freda which is a true mother / daughter catharsis and that could have triggered a beginning of connivance between Rachael and Stephen. But, as it stands, it's a cinematographic failure because of a perfectible script. Very perfectible.
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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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5/10
A disappointing movie adaptation for it's inexplicably shortcut plot.
hnapel21 June 2019
Since the movie poster with the prominent appearance of my favorite actress Keira Knightley appears on the cover of the freshly re-released novel by the same name I consider it justified to compare the movie adaptation to the book and its notable deviations from the original plot. I read through a fair slice of the book and while I understand a movie adaptation must cut corners for the necessity of brevity it is quite remarkable to cut an entire character out of the plot. Since in the book there's an interesting dynamic developing between Freda (or Frieda), which is the German's daughter and the surviving son of the British couple and that whole plot has been cut from the movie because there's no remaining son! The parents are grieving for the loss of one of their children but would have all the more reason to persist in their faltering marriage if not for the bereft sibling. Another missing character is a woman that the British man hires for army work and with who he also was developing some sort of affair, even if that would not come to fruition it is an important part of understanding why the couple was growing apart: with the woman taking a liking to the German architect and her soldier husband to someone of is staff. Without these key ingredients what is left in the movie is only the one-sided affair of the woman with the German. It's quite incomprehensible that while the movie still has a duration of almost 2 hours there was no time to include these plot elements and it would have given the movie some more depth and have kept the story going on a heightened pace. What's left of the movie is not entirely bad and the main actors are making the most of what they are given to work with, but being familiar with the book left me with a feeling of disappointment.
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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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10/10
GREAT thinking person's movie - most of what one could ever hope for in a film!
jrarichards10 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Apart from making me wonder if I am on the same planet as everyone else, the ludicrously low 6.3 average so far achieved here by James Kent's "The Aftermath" compels me to resort to a 10 in my scoring, as opposed to the 9 (or 9.5) I would otherwise have chosen. It also begs a question as to what on Earth people expect from a film!

To my rather seasoned eye, "The Aftermath" looks a bit like a film a Polish maker would make (on this subject) ... and hopefully it will be clear that that is a strong compliment to Mr Kent, and indeed to Ridley Scott who got behind this as one of the Producers.

To be fair, this movie scores hugely on its setting and story, and that means that plenty of the credit goes out to Rhidian Brook, whose book of the same title made a love story out of a real circumstance in the life of his grandfather and father - that's respectively Colonel Walter Brook and Anthony (or Kim?) Brook. In essence, Col. Brook became Governor of Pinneburg, close to a largely-ruined city of Hamburg, and elected to ignore orders about "fraternising" by sharing the mansion allotted to him with businessman owner Wilhelm Ladiges and his wife and children. It may perhaps be no coincidence that Brook's WW1 service (yes he fought then too ... as a Sergeant) was alongside Lawrence of Arabia...

The book and film story depart from this picture in a lot of ways (not least - and tellingly - in the way that the Ladiges-like Stefan Lubert - here played by Alexander Skarsgard - is no businessman, but an architect); but step back and think of the enormity from today's perspective of the basic idea - of a British Army guy running a whole section of a key German city, just like many, many of his counterparts were doing across a big chunk of Germany in the British Zone of Occupation. Some areas within that were assigned to the Poles and Belgians too. As we know, while they are no longer "Occupying" in any sense at all, there are still over 2000 British forces in Germany in 2019, and will be a few left even in 2020.

Obviously, it is stunning to think of all this from today's perspective, and an absolutely underexplored topic in film (though note some/many similarities with the great 1961 movie "Judgment at Nuremberg" - featuring Spencer Tracy as a judge sent to the American sector).

While Brook's book supplied the idea, and the core of truth in this film, it did not garner unstinting praise, e.g. for its quality of writing. So the film moves us forward - as the script is effective and erudite, while the romantic and other tensions are tangible, up to and including erotic content. Equally, the movie is capable of offering some amazing settings - the mansion itself, but also a "reconstruction" (as it were) of the ruins of Hamburg that the RAF (and to an extent USAF) had not so long previously (esp. in July 1943) turned into a firestorm. Britain sent 787 bombers in one night then, generating 150mph winds through a fire reaching 800°C that killed 40,000 (not least from carbon monoxide poisoning) and ruined almost everything.

How to possibly create a set that gives some impression of "the aftermath" of that? Well the film does remarkably well in this regard, and of course it is prepared to include elements of British guilt for what has happened, even as it notes the mostly merciful approach taken by the British Occupants, who nevertheless run checks to spot former Nazis (real-life Colonel Brook presided over tribunals of this profile).

Anyone watching "The Aftermath" will necessarily contemplate how merciful occupying Germans in London would have been, had that alternate reality happened. Since Warsaw and so many other cities offer examples (as does "The Rape of Berlin" in the case of the behaviour of the occupying Red Army, BTW), our answer to that question looks fairly secure, and any scenes here in which Brits restrain themselves from attacking and humiliating Germans bring a patriotic tear to my British eye, as they rightly should. We did it our way, and anyone who doubts that Brtish Forces could possibly have been decent and efficient in that context should look online at the summary (at least) of Barbara Marshall's "German Attitudes to British Military Government 1945-1947".

There we read: "From sullen acceptance of military defeat and occupation the mood of the German population changed to one of intense criticism of the British, culminating in the summer of 1947 in a series of widespread strikes. This development was to some extent to be expected: no authority would have been popular which had to run the country in a period of destruction [...] However, the British had actually made tremendous efforts to provide basic transport and facilities, an achievement which was rightly termed 'British genius for improvisation under stress'. Moreover, only a considerable subsidy of 80M pounds a year out of British taxpayers' money kept up even the limited food supplies which reached Germany [...] a burden which led directly to the introduction of bread rationing in Britain in July 1946 [...] The Germans never fully recognized the extent of the British contribution to Germany's survival..."

It's clear the makers of "The Aftermath" have read Marshall's paper, as they EXACTLY epitomise the above lines in the content and atmosphere of their film - and that's a skill in itself.

In detail, the movie sets Col. Lewis Morgan (as the counterpart of the real-life Brook) in a triangle with his wife Rachael (played by Keira Knightley with her usual skill) and Skarsgard's Stefan Lubert. The Morgans have lost their son to a German raid over Britain, while Lubert lost his wife to the Allied onslaught. Lubert's daughter (obviously more potentially pro-Nazi than he, having grown up with Hitler's brainwashing) is in a mess in general, and consorts with a young guy from the "88" - a group of staunch Hitlerites (the 8th letter of the alphabet is H, so HH for Heil Hitler) who do not accept the defeat and continue to harry British soldiers, sometimes murderously.

A love-lust interest develops in this context, but I shall say little more about that as it is the core of the film, and done well, and clearly thought-provoking. While Australian Jason Clarke as Morgan seems conceivably a little uncertain with his accent, the role is an extremely grateful one, which Clarke mainly does with aplomb. When the need arises, Morgan proves both brave and extremely competent as a battle-hardened soldier, weak in dealing with his marital relationship, ever dutiful, but also merciful and keen to recognise that the war is over and the peace must now begin. It's very moving how a single role can sum up an entire nation-rebuilding philosophy.

Apparently when the real-life Col. Brook went home, the Germans presented him with a book about rebuilt bridges (literally and figuratively of course) - and this is all the more pithy given that a bridge in German is eine Brücke.
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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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5/10
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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10/10
10/10 for Jason Clarke
henrycoles98 January 2020
Jason Clarke is one of few actors who can give me goosebumps just by looking at him, goodness! He's an absolute human emotion machine. He moves you and sends chills down your spine with his signature expressions, not least his crying his heart out. Oh my god!
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7/10
BRAVO KEIRA...HATS OFF !!
TADKALABS18 June 2019
Keira knows how to outshine others when it comes to delivering classic, carved out acting without a hitch and she does that with all the panache and finesse and how in this - days of yore world war time saga of romance and despair and compassion in a power packed rendition which not many can. Measured and mature, reflecting the welled up tragic circumstances and carrying the sublime hint of static grief in posture & expression, making the viewer drown slowly into her gaze and dialogue rendition as a natural propensity that emotes from all angles. It grows over you gradually and holds you to a thrall throughout the movie without your knowledge. Stupendous is a mere adjective to describe it.

The movie starts slowly from a point where the WW2 has just ended and Allied Forces have occupied Germany which is in shambles at the end of war. The story begins at a shattered and in ruins Hamburg in 1945. Keira joins her hubby Jason Clarke (of White House Down & Everest Fame) Who is a Colonel in Brit Army, in charge of rebuilding and deNazifying Germany. They move into a classic German Mansion belonging to a well-off widower Alexander Skarsgard (of Straw Dogs, Legend of Tarzan, Hold The Dark fame) and his daughter which is been selected by the Allied Forces for the Colonel. Keira has lost her son in German bombing over London and Alexander has lost his wife in Allied bombing of Germany so there is enough tragic past on both sides. The movies opens to this background slowly.

One oddity is the Mansion looks so classy and almost contemporary with British Piano, finely carved wooden work and pretty modern looking seating while nearby it is full of rubble and dust and bombed out exterior which looks little outlandish when you look at the Mansion and war-torn land outside. Well it is a minor aberration though it does register in the mind. The movie picks up pace may be from the 20th minute onwards and then it keeps you engrossed totally in it till the end of its total length of 140 plus minutes of run time. Let me go silent now since saying anything more may be a spoiler. The movie though starts slow, unfolds in a crafty step by step manner and turns its head on you with its at times predictable turns but with more finesse than you expect every time. It's a Keira Show all the way with excellent supporting roles by Clarke & Skarsgard. Clever delivery of halted dialogues are good too since you more or less get the complete line. That's kind of charming.

Pretty sublime direction by James Kent too who gave us 13th Tale, Margaret & 13th Tale kind of movies. Has managed to extract good performances by the star cast. Effectively mirrors the feelings of mistrust, tension in the air, grief, passion, sub plots within the story & hostility without much ado. The screenplay is tight and neat and well rendered with consummate ease.

To sum up, The Aftermath is a better movie without a doubt. Keira delivers the punch with more than VFM performance. One can never believe she has Dyslexia at all!!! And the aftermath is a feel good factor which it leaves you with aplenty.
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6/10
The Aftermath lacks passion and romanticism within its illicit love triangle.
TheMovieDiorama15 March 2019
Warning: Spoilers
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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1/10
Too many historic flaws; surprised this is funded
michaelrs-237-6582338 August 2019
Where do we start? So many flaws and wrong premisses that it is hard to watch. Usually not an issue but when you link it to singular circumstances it detracts and irritates. Maybe the book as flawed. Hamburg is flat, coming from the UK, why do you take a train through snow mountains, when there are none? OJ for breakfast when there is no coal to heat? No tea in the #1 trading port for coffee and tea, never heard of Ostfriesenmischung? His deceased wife the sole daughter of a shipping family with no other siblings that would hunker down with them? Normally, these families would have 3+ sons to run the business in London, NY and South America, not just one daughter. Winter of 45 was about reparations to England, reconstruction and rebuild started with the US Marshall plan in 49, not earlier. 88 tattoo is a white supremacist/neonazi sign that emerged later, not HJ. Was there no historian to check the script?
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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
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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10/10
Beautiful Story Warning: Spoilers
I was going into this expecting a love story and while it was in some ways, it was also a story of 2 people who just simply needed each other for support and to share their mutual grief. I was moved by this and put myself in Rachael's shoes and found myself wondering if I would do what she did. While her husband was caring and loved her, he was emotionally withdrawn when it came to the death of his child. That drove a huge wedge between them and made the affair between her and Lubert all but inevitable. She was looking for an outlet for that grief and found it in him. I think he was also looking for someone to understand him and for a way to move on with his grief. I am not sure if I would have made the final decision she did, but all in all, loved this film and would highly recommend it.
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3/10
Too Contrived
westsideschl16 July 2019
My DVD had subtitles so not sure how so many people had problems with that aspect. As to the story it seemed really contrived, artificial as if "lets have one of these & one of those ..." Dysfunctional marriage in British husband & wife occupying a German architect's home in just post war Germany. They lost their young son in German bombing of London so guilt affects mom/dad unity. German architect also dealing with a loss of wife from British bombing, and has young daughter (coincidentally about the same age as our British couples lost son) who also has issues. So lots of subplots as the two groups figure out how to live w/each other in one house. It felt predictable, not real, like watching a pre-programmed chess match. Seems like I've seen the predictable ending a thousand times. Acting was acting-like.
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5/10
The Aftermath is transformed by missed opportunities from a war drama into a standard romantic film.
movieman6-413-92951029 March 2019
The Aftermath is a new romantic war drama directed by James Kent, director of Testament of Youth.

The film is set in 1946 in post-war Germany. Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) comes to the ruins of Hamburg in a bitter winter. Her husband Lewis Morgan (Jason Clarke) is a British colonel and has been given the task of assisting in the reconstruction of Hamburg. Lewis decided, without any consultation, to stay in a large local house during the time of the reconstruction, which they share with the former owner Stephen Lubert (Alexander Skarsgård). Stephen became a widower during the war, leaving him alone with his traumatized daughter. Because Lewis is far away for the reconstruction of Hamburg, Rachel sits with Stephen for a long time. The mutual hostility is gradually changing into a corresponding emotional loneliness, from which eventually a romantic passion appears.

With this film they try to create a good romantic drama, but because of the way the story is told, it seems very unrealistic. The man initially did not want his wife to come to Hamburg, but she decided to go without being left behind in a widower's house. Although she is alone abroad, she lives in spite of the loneliness in a luxury house that she has to share with the handsome local German. As a viewer, it is so difficult to really feel sorry for the main character, because despite the fact that she doesn't get to see her husband much, she's pretty good. With Alexander Skarsgård as his character, they also try to bring some drama aspects to the fore where he has lost his wife and is traumatized with a daughter, but despite these problems he still opts for the passion that he can have with her character Keira Knightley. The film changes from a drama film to a predictable romantic film with many missed opportunities that could have made the film a lot more interesting.

They owe the positive of the film to Ridley Scott and his further production team. Because of them they were able to film the film on location and the film was shown in a good and beautiful way. This way the film comes across in a clear and beautiful way despite the lesser story.

The film also has a good cast, but the standard film script also makes it impossible for the actors to really make something special out of it. The cast does good work in this film, but they have done better acting in their film career.
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4/10
Average
nur-mrx14 April 2019
I love the outfits and the interior design of the movie but the story a little bit boring
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5/10
looks the part, but
ferguson-629 March 2019
Greetings again from the darkness. It's 1945 on the heels of the Allied forces victory in WWII. British officer Lewis Morgan is charged with overseeing the military's role in beginning the process of returning a sense of normalcy back to Hamburg (and assisting with hunting Nazi loyalists). He is joined there by his wife Rachel, and they are to occupy a beautiful mansion that has been "requisitioned" from a German architect and his daughter. Captain Morgan makes the unusual offer of having the man and his daughter remain in the house, rather than relocate to one of the dreadful camps, where food and privacy is scarce. Here's a tip gentlemen: never invite Alexander Skarsgard to live in the same house as your significant other.

Captain Morgan is played by Jason Clarke, and his wife Rachel by Keira Knightley. The aforementioned Skarsgard is Stephen Lubert, and Flora Thieman plays Freda, his rebellious teenage daughter. On her train ride in, Rachel hears a young girl discussing the rule of "no fraternizing" with the German people. Of course, we know (even if Rachel doesn't know yet) that it's not the little girl who is going to break this rule. An awkward reunion for Morgan and his wife indicates something is amiss. We soon learn that their young son was killed 4 years prior in a bombing - a hardship they share with Mr. Lubert, whose wife was also killed during the war. Clearly the loss of her son still impacts Rachel to the point that she rarely finds a moment of happiness.

If this was a "Seinfeld" episode, this is where 'yada, yada, yada' would be inserted, letting us know that a tryst between Lubert and Rachel occurs while husband Morgan is out on duty, and that romp brings her instantly back to life ... with smiles and piano playing. This little lovefest is contrasted with the rubble of Hamburg. The city is literally in ruins. The visuals are impressive, but we never get a feel for the challenge of rebuilding infrastructure and lives. Instead, we get more forbidden love.

Director James Kent is known mostly for his TV work, and the film is based on the novel by Rhidian Brook, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse. It would be a mistake to assume, given the outstanding three lead actors, that this is a prestigious WWII drama. An accurate description would be 'soap opera.' The set design, costumes, and cast are first rate, but the direction, script, and editing scream soap opera. I believe my final count was 12. That's 12 shots of someone gazing out of a window ... train windows, car windows, house windows, bus windows ... every window gets its shot of winsome gazing. It's best you know going in to expect a soap opera ... not that there's anything wrong with that.
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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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9/10
rare kind of...
Movies like this are so rare in our hurry days!!! So lovely play of life in hard times and such a hard good acting! Damn, I loved it with all my soul.
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5/10
Powerful setting, had great potential
hedgehog212118 April 2019
Warning: Spoilers
The film has a lot of potential but lacked romanticism that it needed since it is the central theme to this movie. 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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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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