A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Encourages empathy toward others, rather than looking at situations from a binary perspective and making snap judgments. Honesty can bring people closer, even when it is difficult to hear. Courage is shown when seeking the truth. Infidelity and lying -- and the consequences of both -- are prominent.
Positive Role Models
Mary is shown to be kind and thoughtful, particularly in dealing with her late husband's son, though she loses her temper, slaps him on one occasion. She maintains a lie about her identity in order to snoop around Genevieve's home and is initially judgmental of her behavior. Genevieve makes assumptions about Mary based on her appearance, mistaking her for a cleaner. She lies to her son about aspects of her relationship with his father, but does so in order to protect him. Both women manage to overcome their anger to see each other as humans experiencing their own pain.
Main character Mary and many supporting characters are Muslim. Prayers and religious gatherings are shown, and Muslim community is portrayed as supportive, though Mary is often on the outskirts as the only White woman (she converted for her marriage). Her husband's family are of Pakistani descent. A White character asks how it feels "taking all that on," referring to Mary's conversion as though she presumes it to be a burden or sacrifice. Her husband's teenage son is in a same-sex relationship, which is shown positively as sweet and kind -- though a secret from his mother -- and Mary's reaction is accepting when she finds out. Mary has a larger body shape that she explores on-screen in the mirror after meeting her late husband's slimmer girlfriend. It is never referenced by others negatively.
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Violence & Scariness
A character dies suddenly just out of shot, portrayed through their spouse's reaction. Mourning gatherings are shown and visits to a graveyard. A character lies down on a beach with waves lapping and, at one point, submerging them. An adult slaps a teen for spitting in another's face.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A character is seen in their underwear in front of a mirror. Later they are seen in the bath naked from the waist up -- breast partially seen from side. Character also seen in the shower, though through glass doors that obscure the body. Two teens are heard kissing off-screen, then seen shirtless kissing on a bed. Frequent reference to infidelity.
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Occasional language includes "f--k," "f---ing," "bitch," "bastard," "crap," and "pr--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Main characters smoke cigarettes on occasion. Alcohol is consumed in small amounts, including a teen drinking wine with dinner in France, where the law allows drinking from the age of 16 in a family setting.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that After Love is an award-winning intimate British drama with occasional strong language, some nudity, and themes around adultery. The movie stars Joanna Scanlan -- who won a BAFTA for Best Actress -- as Mary, a woman who discovers her late husband had a secret life. The death of Mary's husband, Ahmed (Nasser Memarzia), is seen just out of shot, and there are scenes of mourning ceremonies and graveyard visits. Dialogue is in English as well as Urdu, Arabic, and French with English subtitles. Mary is Muslim, having converted to the faith following her marriage. The supporting cast are also primarily Muslim, with religious gatherings and prayer depicted. There is partial nudity, kissing on a bed, and frequent reference to infidelity. Occasional strong language includes "f--k" and "bitch." Characters are also shown to smoke cigarettes and drink small quantities of alcohol -- including a teen in a family setting. The film deals with complex and upsetting adult issues, which may be confusing or too intense for younger viewers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Writer-director Aleem Khan's debut feature film is a confidently handled and highly original drama that rightly earned him three BAFTA nominations. After Love's lead actor, however, went one better, with Scanlan winning the Best Actress award for her portrayal of Mary. Scanlan, best known for her characters in British comedy dramas such as The Thick of It, gives a mesmerizing performance from start to finish as a woman whose world falls apart around her after the sudden death of her husband. Khan's assured direction allows for a stillness and silence that makes space for the actor to really hold the screen. Every breath and flick of the eye is saturated with emotion, building up a tension that almost surpasses the plot altogether.
Moments of rawness and connection take on symbolic beauty, such as Mary partly submerged beneath the lapping tide on the beach, letting both the water and her feelings wash over her; the two "wronged" women lying next to each other on a bed, mirroring two sides of an experience; or characters looking over a cliff's edge, contemplating the future. It's beautiful, impactful stuff that makes Khan one to watch closely over the coming years and will hopefully lead to broader opportunities for Scanlan to explore her remarkable talent.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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