After Love: Film Review

After Love

Courtesy of BFI

Perhaps I had been living under a rock but I hadn’t heard much about After Love – despite it showing at last year’s London Film Festival – but I decided to give it a go and I’m glad I did.

The film tells the story of Mary Hussain (Joanna Scanlan), who converted to Islam when she married her teenage sweetheart Ahmed (Nasser Memarzia), who works on the Dover to Calais ferry. When Ahmed suddenly dies, Mary’s grief is compounded by the discovery that he had another woman in Calais. With curiosity getting the better of her, Mary goes to France to confront this other woman, Genevieve (Nathalie Richard), but their meeting doesn’t go quite how she planned.

Aleem Khan, who also directs, has written a powerful story about two women who have loved the same man for years finally meeting each other. You think you know how it’s going to go but it throws a curveball and goes down an unexpected avenue, making it all the more interesting. The two women are very well written, their journey together is compelling and I really appreciated how the narrative played out.

Although the screenplay is already good, the performances make it even better. Scanlan’s Mary is quite a quiet person but all the grief, anger and betrayal she is feeling is just bubbling below the surface. She says so much with her face and you can’t help but feel sorry for her. And you can’t simply write Genevieve off as the other woman either – it’s more complicated than that and she has more substance. She’s a fully realised woman too and Richard is also brilliant, particularly towards the end. The main cast is rounded out by Genevieve’s teenage son Solomon, played very well by Talid Ariss

After Love really delivers an impactful emotional story and I highly recommend.

In cinemas from Friday 4th June

Rating: 4 out of 5.