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This article is about the 2019 film. You may be looking for the book or the graphic novel.


There are moments in our lives that seem to define us. Moments we keep going back to. My life before him was so simple and decided. And now, after him, there's just... After.
Tessa's opening monologue

After is a romance-drama film based on the worldwide literary phenomenon, After by Anna Todd. After is the first movie in its self-titled film series.

The film was released on April 12, 2019, and was rated PG-13. The film was directed by Jenny Gage and written by her, Tamara Cheston, Susan McMartin, and overseen by author, Anna Todd.

Synopsis[]

Based on Anna Todd’s best-selling novel which became a publishing sensation on social storytelling platform Wattpad, AFTER follows Tessa Young (Langford), a dedicated student, dutiful daughter, and loyal girlfriend to her high school sweetheart, as she enters her first semester in college. Armed with grand ambitions for her future, her guarded world opens up when she meets the dark and mysterious Hardin Scott (Tiffin), a magnetic, brooding rebel who makes her question all she thought she knew about herself and what she wants out of life.

Plot[]

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Tessa Young is a bright-eyed high school graduate eagerly awaiting her first day at Washington Central University. With her mother, Carol, and boyfriend Noah helping her, Tessa moves into her new dorm room where she is greeted by two girls. The girls introduce themselves as Steph Jones, Tessa's roommate, and her girlfriend, Tristan. Carol is initially turned away by Steph's nonchalant vaping and Tristan's excitement about getting Tessa into the best parties with a fake ID. Tessa follows her mother out of the room and assures her that everything will be fine, and to trust her as she is a good student and knows how important schooling is. Carol decides to do just that and Tessa bids her mother and Noah farewell.

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Tessa returns to the dorm where she bonds with Steph, who remarks on Tessa's large book collection. The girls seem to get along and Tessa settles into her dorm by spending the night there alone. She texts with Noah about her excitement over her first class. It is at that class that she encounters fellow early class goer Landon Gibson, who shares the same interests as her. His kind nature allows them to become fast friends.

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Later that day, Tessa takes a shower in the dorm. When she gets out, she realizes that her clothes fell on the ground and are drenched. She returns to her room in her towel and opens the closet door. She is started by a tattooed boy reading on her bed and nervously tells him that he's in the wrong room. He dismisses her claims and holds up a set of keys to her dorm. She asks him to leave so that she can get dressed, but he tells her not to flatter herself - he's not looking at her. When Steph arrives she tells Tessa that the boy isn't her boyfriend but is a friend, but hopes that he didn't make her uncomfortable. The boy iterates that he's been minding his business. Steph quickly invites Tessa out to the party that night but she declines her offer despite the boy's sarcastic comments about her not being the party type. The pair begins to leave when he hands back the book he borrowed, mysteriously telling her that he hates to ruin the ending of The Great Gatsby but it was all a dream. She corrects him saying that it was actually all a lie.

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Tessa focuses on her studies despite glances from Hardin as they seem to find one another in common spaces such as a coffee shop near campus. She is studying in the library when Steph is finally able to convince Tessa to come out with her to another party, this time, at a fraternity house on campus. The girls bond as Steph helps Tessa pick out an outfit for the party, even though the red dress doesn't quite please her but they agree to compromise. Tessa sits with Tristan and Steph, where she is introduced to the rest of their group, including Hardin Scott, the boy she met in her dorm room days earlier. The rest of the group consists of Jace, the oldest of the group who encourages Tessa to drink, Zed whose eagerness is initially off-putting, and Molly, whose protective stance with Hardin creates instant friction between the two girls.

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The group plays a game of truth or dare where Tessa is dared to make out with Hardin, though she shuts him down claiming that she is over the stupid game. She abruptly leaves earning surprised murmurs from his group of friends who claim this is Hardin's first rejection. She wanders through the house and into a room where she admires a book collection. She is promptly surprised when Hardin enters saying that this is his room. They share a moment where their hands linger and they seem to have a connection. Tessa stops herself before anything happens and promptly leaves the party. She takes a call from Noah and he reprimands her for attending a party so she hangs up on him and leaves. When she returns to her dorm she reads messages from both Noah and her mother, who is unhappy upon hearing that Tessa attended a party.

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The next morning, Tessa attends English class and enters a bantering match with Hardin over their differing views on Pride and Prejudice. They clash intensely and are stopped by Professor Soto who is pleased with their passion. Once the class is dismissed, Tessa vents to Landon over her frustration regarding the Brit, even mocking his accent. Landon tries to keep the peace but warns her about Hardin's games. She tries to keep her distance from Hardin and spends some time with Steph and Jace. The next morning, Hardin visits her at the coffee shop but she thinks that it would be best when he approaches her in a coffee shop. He wants to take her to a special place but she is uninterested. He persists and she concedes to his persuasion. He takes her to a lake tucked in the woods, explaining that this is his "secret place".

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Tessa is hesitant to enter the water without a bathing suit, so he lets her wear his T-shirt, though she makes him turn around in the water so she can change. He helps her into the lake and they proceed to have fun before having a meaningful conversation about life and what they enjoy. She asks him who he loves most in the world. He quickly responds himself earning an eye roll from Tessa. They flirt and exchange longing looks before kissing in the water. They share a sensual encounter on land but stop before things progress. The pair go to a diner where they order casual food and continue to get to know one another.

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They get along fairly well with her stealing his fries despite having plenty of her own, something that makes Hardin laugh. She is persistent in an attempt to get to know him, despite his resistance. They are interrupted by Molly and Zed. Molly comes onto Hardin and toys with him despite his annoyance. He gives the car keys to Tessa and asks her to wait in the car. She is aggravated but leaves to stand by the counter so the trio can talk. She watches their heated conversation before he joins her. He acts cool towards her and informs her that while the day was fun, he doesn't date. She is disgusted by this and shoves the keys at him before leaving the diner. Tessa returns to an empty dorm room where, despite her annoyance, she still dreams about Hardin asking her what she's dreaming about.

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She awakens in the morning to a message from Noah asking her to come outside, and she is surprised to see her boyfriend waiting for her outside with a bouquet of flowers. They hug and spend the day together. They attend a bonfire on the outskirts of campus where Hardin and his group of friends are also present. The group begins to play another game, this time passing a card back and forth using only their lips. When it's Tessa's turn she attempts to get the card from Jace, who purposefully blows it in her face. He attempts to come onto her but Noah tells him to stop, sensing Tessa's discomfort. He still persists with Tessa pushing him away with her hand. Before another second passes, Hardin leaps across the circle and punches Jace. They wrestle around on the ground exchanging blows before Jace is pulled off Hardin by the other guys. Tessa stares at him in shock and their eyes meet as Zed attempts to calm him down. Hardin storms off leaving Noah confused as he consoles Tessa.

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The couple returns to the dorms and watches a movie, which Noah falls asleep during. She receives a text from Landon asking her to come over and help him with Hardin. She obliges and bikes there, but is surprised to learn that Landon is Hardin's soon to be stepbrother. She is also disheartened by the mess in the kitchen of broken plates, glasses, and vases. Landon apologizes for asking her to come as he thought she might be able to calm him down since she was the reason he was so upset. She goes outside to the pool where Hardin is sitting with a bottle of liquor. Tessa sharply retorts that she thought he didn't drink, to which he tells her it's a special occasion - his father is getting married. He even drops his glass nonchalantly to prove his point of being upset. She is annoyed by his behavior and tries to clean up the glass despite his insistence to leave it be. She cuts her finger on the glass so he takes her inside and helps her clean the minor cut. He apologizes for his actions earlier, admitting that he's a mess. She returns the sentiment and they share a second kiss followed by another sexual encounter before they fell asleep together.

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She woke up the next morning and hurried back to the dorms where Noah confronted her about where she had to go in the middle of the night. Hardin appears behind her and Noah pieces together what happened, and leaves despite Tessa's pleas for him to stay. This was the catalyst for Tessa's breakup with Noah and led to a fallout between her and Hardin. She spent the day being comforted by Steph before attending classes and ignoring messages from her mother and Hardin. She refocuses on her studies and tries to reconnect with Steph.

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She eventually caves and visits the fraternity house where Hardin lives, much to his surprise. She admits to him that once her father left Noah was there for her and they grew close. He's her best friend. But she feels different being with Hardin then she did with Noah. The pair kiss and begin a committed relationship full of cute moments, secret readings in the library where they flee the security guard, and surprise kisses in class. Their relationship is observed from afar by Molly and Zed, who seems uncharacteristically interested in their relationship. Molly, on her part, seemed to be watching the couple closely. She watched them banter in English class much to her and Zed's amusement. Much later, they watched Tessa and Hardin make out in the halls of WCU before disappearing into a dorm room.

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As they are studying in her dorm she notices Hardin watching her and writing in his journal. She asks what he's always writing but his coy response entices her to playfully grab at the journal before they being to kiss. They are interrupted by a surprise visit from Carol, Tessa's mother, who is disgusted by the sight. She demands that Tessa end things with Hardin so she can refocus on her studies, but Tessa refuses. Carol takes a moment before threatening to cut Tessa off financially if she doesn't end things with Hardin. Tessa still refuses and Carol angrily leaves.

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Tessa spends the day with Landon, who warns her that Hardin can be dangerous so she should take things slow. But she insists that he's different around her, despite Landon's warnings that Hardin is always up to something. He agrees to let her make her own choices. From there, Tessa met with Hardin who took her to an apartment as a surprise. He initially claimed the apartment belonged to a friend of his father's, but later admitted that he wants them to live there together. Tessa is reluctant at first but accepts his offer. This sets off the beginning of their seemingly perfect dating life, filled with picnics, laughter, kisses, and a trip to the aquarium where she claims nothing can ever change the way she feels about him. Their public displays of affection make Hardin's friends, specifically Molly and Zed, suspicious as they follow the couple around.

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Hardin invites Tessa to his father's engagement party which she happily attends. They are greeted by Landon who is polite and excited about being a stepbrother to Hardin, who responds coldly to the boy. During the reception near the pool, Hardin opens up to her about his traumatic childhood, and the incident he witnessed happen to his mother. They shared a dance and had a good night despite the tension between Hardin and his father, Ken Scott. When they returned home they consummated their relationship. Their happiness continues as they share a bath with her trying to guess the words that he traces on her back. She fails miserably at the game but insists on another chance. This time, Hardin traces the words I love you on her back, but she still fails. He doesn't tell her what he traced and instead, kisses her.

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A few days later, Tessa is in the bathroom of Washington Central University when she is confronted by Molly. The confrontation is awkward from the beginning as the tension between the girls is evident. Molly feigns concern over the freshman's well-being, then coyly gives Tessa an ominous warning about Hardin being up to something. She comments on her relationship with Hardin and how cool Tessa is with it. She vaguely tells her to watch her back. She leaves moments later, much to Tessa's confusion over the seemingly random event.

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One night, Tessa is attempting to read when Hardin's phone continues to chime with messages from someone. She picks it up to turn the chime off when she discovers a slew of messages from Molly wanting to meet with him and talking about something going on. This sparks Tessa's jealousy and concern so she confronts Hardin about the messages. He brushes her off and begins to leave when she stops him, asking him to explain. He pauses then asks if she trusts him, which she responds that she does, so he doesn't see the problem. He leaves abruptly after leaving her confused and annoyed.

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She waits hours for him to return before taking matters into her own hands. Jace responds to her message stating that if she comes to the Videodrome he'll tell her where Hardin is. She decides to go despite the pouring down rain and lack of a car. She meets up with Jace in his car, against her better judgment. Through him, Tessa is able to find Hardin at a diner with his friends, Molly, Zed, and Steph. Molly noticed Tessa enter the diner and toys with her. Tessa refuses to be baited into Molly's games, just as Hardin arrives at the table. Tessa demands that Hardin explain what is going on between him and Molly, to which Molly retorted that something is going on, but it's not what Tessa thinks. Hardin sharply tells Molly to shut up but she ignores him and asks if Tessa remembers truth or dare. Zed tries to silence Molly who ignores him. She shows Tessa footage of Hardin making a bet from the night of the truth and dare game. After she rejected Hardin, he sensed his friends mocking manners and made a bet that he could make Tessa fall in with him. He would then turn off his charm and loving demeanor to break her heart. Tessa turned to an emotional Hardin and asked if it was true. His silence was the confirmation she needed. She looks to Steph, Zed, and Molly, realizing that they all knew and didn't tell her. Steph refuses to look at Tessa. Hardin tries to speak to her but she doesn't listen and runs out of the diner.

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He follows her outside begging her to listen as he can explain everything. She realizes their entire relationship was a lie. Hardin tries to protest but Tessa asks if it was all a game. He begins to tell her that the game was all before, but she cuts him off saying it was before he snapped his fingers and turned it all off. She thought that he cared about her and that their relationship meant something, but he's just a liar. He takes a moment before bringing up what she said at the aquarium about nothing changing the way she feels about him. She swallows hard. She guess they're both liars and leaves him standing alone in the rain. She takes a bus back to her childhood home.

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Tessa takes this free time to rekindle her relationship with her mom. They exchange a hug and a dose of apologies. She doesn't tell Carol about the bet but merely states that things didn't go well with Hardin. Carol offers sympathy and suggests that Tessa try to fix things with Noah, who is still at soccer practice. Tessa agrees and visits Noah after practice. She apologizes for every having hurt him and for the way everything happened. He forgives her, explaining that he's been dating someone too and realized that he and Tessa never worked. They begin to talk about other things, laugh, and relax.

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She returns to WCU and moves back into the dorms, though her friendship with Steph doesn't rekindle. Tessa applies for an internship at Vance Publishing, which she attends an interview for after being accepted. She focuses on her studies and attends classes over the weeks that she's apart from Hardin. In the days they spend apart, Hardin mulls things over in his dorm room, blasting music and emotionally recounting the days he spent with Tessa. He picks up Wuthering Heights and remembers their moment in his dorm all those weeks ago. His friends message him asking for forgiveness and to hang out, which he ignores. He stays holed up in his dorm until it is time for him to turn in an English paper essay. Tessa finishes her English class with Professor Soto, which Hardin is obviously absent from. As Tessa and Landon prepare to leave the classroom, Soto calls Tessa aside. She explains that Hardin turned in his final essay, but she thinks it was meant for Tessa and not her. She gives her the envelope which Tessa thanks her for and leaves.

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Tessa and Landon sit on the campus lawn now that class is dismissed. She opens the packet and notices a photograph of a lake and a portrait photo of her. He asks what the lake is supposed to mean, but she merely responds that it's a special place. She reads the letter that surprisingly is a letter from Hardin professing his feelings for her. He explains that she once asked him who he loves most in the world, and now he knows that it's her. Hardin sits at the end of the dock by the lake when Tessa arrives and sits next to him. She looks over at him and he returns her gaze.

Cast[]

Awards and Nominations[]

Year Award Category Recipients and nominees Outcome
2019
Teen Choice Award Choice Movie: Drama After Won
Choice Movie Actreses: Drama Josephine Langford Won
Choice Movie Actor: Drama Hero Fiennes Tiffin Won
2019 People's Choice Award The Drama Movie of 2019 After Won

Notes and Trivia[]

  • The rights to the film were originally sold to Paramount. However, Anna Todd wanted more freedom when it came to adapting the film. The rights were then given back and eventually sold to Aviron.
  • Julia Goldani Telles was originally cast to play the role of Tessa Young. She left the project due to creative differences and fear that the role would soil her career.
    • Because Julia exited the project, the character of Tessa had to be recast in under a week and was the only character not to have chemistry reads.
  • The trailer for the film earned 10 million views in one week.
  • Hardin's copy of Wuthering Heights is the copy that Anna Todd had as a teenager.
  • Each character was given their own Spotify playlists and Instagram accounts. The Instagram accounts predominately play into the film and doesn't feature any book content.
  • After themed wallpapers were posted on Pinterest for downloading. They can be found here.
  • Anna Todd had a cameo in the film, in the scene where Tessa is going in for her interview at Vance Publishing (film location). Anna can be seen exiting the building.
  • The library scene was filmed at 3:00 am, and the entire cast and crew were delirious from exhaustion.
  • The bet-revealing scene took sixteen-hours to film.[4]
  • On March 20, 2020, Anna Todd spoke on the deleted scenes from the film. She said she wanted to include all of the scenes but didn't have that ability.
  • On April 12, 2020, to commemorate the first anniversary of After being released, a global watch party was organized. Anna Todd live tweeted during the event alongside some cast and crew members.
  • The last scene filmed was the aquarium montage.
  • They shot an R-rated film for the first parts of the film but had to tone it down for the distributors due to the PG-13 rating. Anna was confused at first as she thought they were filming an R-rated film.

Gallery[]

Promotional[]

Screencaps[]

Behind the Scenes[]

Soundtrack[]

  • Feel Something Good by Whissell
  • Kiss the Sun by We Are the Fury
  • Your Magazines by Brain Tan
  • Do It for Fun by T-Elle
  • Say Hoe (Clean) by Cooley High
  • Richer
  • Written by T. Flex
  • Wild and Reckless by Young Bizzle
  • Step Ahead by Unequal feat. Son Little
  • Still on Top by Kate York x Vanyo
  • The Wave by Colouring
  • Look After You by The Fray
  • Complicated by Olivia O'Brien
  • Raw by Daye Jack
  • Out of Love Alessia Cara
  • Someone to You by Banners
  • Beige by Adrian Galvin (as Yoke Lore)
  • Show and Tell by Sugar & The Hi-Lows
  • Us by James Bay
  • Like That by Bea Miller
  • Blackout by Freya Ridings
  • Light Me Up by Ingrid Michaelson
  • Bitter Love by Pia Mia

References[]

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