Cheery Nineties nostalgia — bad fluorescent fashions, Tubthumping on the soundtrack — fuses with a distinctly more bittersweet view in Scottish director Charlotte Wells’ remarkable debut.
Wells isn’t the only newcomer here making an indelible first impression: joining an outstanding Paul Mescal (Normal People, The Lost Daughter), young Frankie Corio is startlingly assured as 11-year-old tomboy Sophie, going with her single dad Calum on a Turkish package holiday in the late ‘90s. Days of sun, sand and shooting pool beckon, but there’s an undertow of sadness – maybe of future estrangement – to Calum’s laddish parenting, and it bleeds into Frankie’s perspective both past and present.
Exquisitely acted by the leads, and with no less a figure than Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins producing, Aftersun elegantly braids timelines to reflect on memory, mental health and the fragility of the father-daughter bond, and sees Wells arriving fully formed as a filmmaker.
Joint Irish Premiere with Cork Film Festival