After Everything

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
After Everything Movie Poster Image
Realistic, touching romance has sex, substances, swearing.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 95 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Explores the importance of care-giving and having support through personal and health crises. Also shows the difficulties of monogamy and young marriage in a generation and a city where most people in their early to mid-20s aren't thinking of marriage. Shows how you can't really "take back" something hurtful that's said. Lots of conversation about a job you take solely for the paycheck vs. a career you enjoy and nurture.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Elliot's parents are supportive and caring. Mia takes care of Elliot and puts his needs before hers. Elliot and Mia love each other but don't know how to work through their problems.

Violence

A 23-year-old suffers from the effects of chemotherapy and radiation. He looks visibly sick and exhausted and throws up. Elliot gets angry at passersby staring at him and yells/swears at them. Loud verbal fights.

Sex

Lots of conversations about and references to casual sex, online dating/hook-ups, and sex scenes. Several scenes show partially naked (breasts quickly visible) couples in various positions around an apartment. A young couple discusses how they lost their virginity (she as a sophomore in college, he as a freshman in high school) and the number of people they've had sex with. As part of a bucket list, the central couple engages in a threesome; the three parties are shown kissing on a bed. Safe sex and condom use are discussed; in one scene, a couple shops for emergency contraception. Elliot and Nico go to a strip club where topless women dance on stage and then give them lap dances. Elliot thinks about Mia as he masturbates in order to bank his sperm.

Language

Near-constant strong language includes many uses of "f--k" (as a verb and exclamation), "s--t," "a--hole," "d--k," "Jesus Christ," "bitch," "t-ts," "long-ass," etc.

Consumerism

Apple MacBook, iPhone, iMessage, Tinder.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults, particularly Elliot and Nico, drink -- at bars, meals, and out of a bottle -- and smoke lots of weed. Marijuana paraphernalia (bowls, bongs, hand-rolled cigarettes) and consumption shown in several scenes. In one scene, Elliot and Mia smoke a joint with Elliot's parents. As part of Elliot's bucket list, Mia and Elliot take club drug MDMA together.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that After Everything is a love story about twentysomething New Yorkers Elliot (Jeremy Allen White) and Mia (Maika Monroe), who start dating just as Elliot discovers he has cancer. But it isn't a typical illness-themed tragic romance. Instead, it's more of a social commentary on dating, commitment, and marriage in the age of urban online hook-up culture. As a result, the content gets pretty mature: Recreational sex and drug use (pot, MDMA) are depicted frankly, and there's partial nudity (breasts), a threesome (kissing is shown), masturbation, a strip club scene, drinking, and more. There's also near-constant strong language (mostly "f--k" and "s--t"). Parents whose mature teens do see the film can take the opportunity to discuss everything from casual sex/online dating to the difference between a job and a career.

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What's the story?

AFTER EVERYTHING is an unconventional love story about two New York City millennials. Twenty-three-year-old Elliot (Jeremy Allen White), who works at a Lower East Side sandwich shop, starts dating slightly introverted customer Mia (Maika Monroe), also 23, on the very same day he finds out that what he thought was an STD is actually a rare cancer called Ewing's sarcoma. Elliot tells Mia his news even before his best friend/roommate, Nico (DeRon Horton), or his parents back home in suburban New Jersey. At first the couple takes things slowly, exchanging texts and meeting for meals and conversation, but their love develops even as Elliot's cancer grows -- and they end up skipping straight to promises of forever in a short but intense time. But the young lovers eventually realize that their crisis-fueled romance is harder to maintain in regular, non-emergency times.

Is it any good?

The two charming leads shine in this ultra-realistic romance about young lovers whose connection grows during a time of unthinkable crisis. Written and directed by Hannah Marks and Joey Power, After Everything is much more than a stereotypical love story about a doomed patient and a selfless, caregiving lover. It's an exploration of the post-Girls generation of twentysomethings who work wherever (sandwich shops, hipster toothpaste companies) for a paycheck, then go home to get high, bingewatch with friends, and swipe left or right for their dating lives. Elliot and Mia offer typical but not stereotypical representations of being young, broke, and single in the city. White and Monroe are excellent at playing their flawed but appealing characters, and the couple's love connection is sweetly rooted in conversations, not just an instant-attraction-based hook-up.

There's no The Fault In Our Stars twist here, but there's heartbreak just the same. The script makes it clear that relationships born out of intense, extraordinary situations can be difficult to sustain once the practicalities of domestic life set in, especially for people who are very different from each other. Pre-diagnosis, Elliot was something of a player -- spending his free time enjoying pick-up basketball games, playing video games with Nico, and having alcohol-fueled one-night stands with at least a dozen partners in the year leading up to discovering his tumor. Mia, meanwhile, is a straighter-laced introvert who passes on her stoner roommates' invitations to smoke up and watch true-crime documentaries. The duo's opposites-attract chemistry is palpable and poignant, so when things stop being swoon-worthy, the movie becomes awfully bittersweet.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about After Everything's messages. Do you think it portrays millennial urban life realistically? Why or why not?

  • Discuss the way that hook-up culture, online dating, and sex are portrayed in the movie. What does Mia mean when she accuses Elliot of not knowing how to talk women in real life because of Tinder?

  • Who, if anyone, is a role model in the movie? What character strengths do they display?

  • How does the movie portray drinking and drug use? Are they glamorized? Are there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?

Movie details

For kids who love dramas

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