Aftersun Ending Explained – Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio, and Celia Rowlson-Hall appear in Charlotte Wells’ 2022 drama film Aftersun, which she also wrote and directed. A24 and Mubi both released it in the United States on October 21, 2022, and on November 18, 2022, respectively, in the United Kingdom.
A Scottish girl named Sophie, age 11, and her father go on vacation to a Turkish resort on the day of her father’s 31st birthday in the historical drama Aftersun, which is set in the late 1990s.
The movie received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, who lauded Mescal’s acting as well as Wells’ direction and writing. It was also chosen by Sight and Sound in its poll of the finest movies of the year and included in the National Board of Review’s list of the top movies of 2022.
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“Aftersun” Plot Synopsis
11-year-old Along with her adoring, idealistic, but troubled 30-year-old Scottish father, Calum, Sophie travels to Turkey for a summer vacation. Sophie is a perceptive, clever, and curious young woman who is wrestling with the beginnings of her puberty as she watches the teens on the Turkish resort engage in and talk about sexual and romantic activities.
During the holiday, Sophie may also feel the separation from her father and herself. While trying to maintain a façade of contentment during the holiday, Calum shows evidence of general detachment while yet showing his daughter how much he truly cares for her. He and Sophie’s mother are peacefully split, and he is having financial and professional difficulties. Calum makes vain attempts to suppress his thoughts of self-hatred and misery. He reads self-help books and practices Tai chi to control his negative sentiments.
Due to her keen eye, Sophie can see that her father is handling various adult issues that she cannot comprehend. They went scuba diving on one occasion, and she lost her pricey dive mask in the water. Sophie acknowledges that her father is disturbed by her error and says that she understands the mask cost a lot, comforting her father while Calum pretends to be indifferent. Later, Calum tells the driving instructor sitting next to them that he is shocked to have reached the age of 30, and he does not anticipate getting to the age of 40.
Another day, when shopping for rugs with Sophie, Calum struggles to decide how much to pay for a rug he likes. At first, Calum refuses to buy the rug while Sophie is present. Later, without Sophie, he returns and pays the vendor for the expensive rug.
Calum is taken aback by Sophie’s insight and unintentionally made depressed by it. But a pivotal moment comes at the end of the holiday, when Calum and Sophie dance together to the tune of “Under Pressure,” which draws them into a loving embrace for one of the last times.
Strobe-lit dance rave scenes with a multitude of people dancing, a dazed Calum dancing, and a perplexed Sophie viewing the rave from a distance are interspersed throughout the movie. She makes several tries to get closer to Calum but is unsuccessful. Eventually, an adult, Sophie shows up and yells at her father to move when she reaches him.
Later, Calum and Sophie are at the airport, marking the conclusion of their vacation and their final interaction. He waves her off as she boards her aircraft for her mother’s house. Then Calum turns around and moves backward along the corridor to the dance rave area.
After 20 years, Calum is no longer a part of Sophie’s life. In the form of DVR-recorder film that both she and Calum captured on the trip, 31-year-old Sophie recalls her father’s trip to Turkey. She utilises the video footage to reflect on the event, thinking back on their relationship and the aspects of him that, at the age of 11, she was unable to know or comprehend but now understands poignantly.
The Last Dance in “Aftersun” – What Does It Mean?
On the last night of the trip, Calum attends a neighbourhood pool party and begins to dance casually. He calls to Sophie, “Come on. However, Sophie is too shy to dance and is reluctant to join him. She tightly hugs him. This scene abruptly switches to adult Sophie (Celia Rowlson-Hall) seeing Calum dance wildly in front of her at some type of dark disco party. Although Sophie doesn’t show her hatred toward her father verbally, it is clear that she harbours it.
The way he always knew when to hold back and when to speak, as well as his emotional distance, could be the cause. We catch flashes of a weary Calum trying to cling onto an adult Sophie, but she pushes him away under the flashlights. The current vacation is shown in the scene. In the end, the video footage shows Calum bidding Sophie farewell at the pier.
The movie then departs from the space where the adult Sophie lives, gently rotating around her, and eventually arriving at the precise location where she says farewell to Calum. The scene ends as Calum turns off the camera and exits via the exit door. The identical dancing floor with flashlights is beyond the exit door. The location where grown up Sophie confronts him is alluded to.
‘Aftersun’ Ending Explained: What Concerns Calum?
By the time Aftersun reaches this stage, Wells has left enough hints along the route for readers to deduce the cause of Calum’s distress. Early on, after a ridiculous question by Sophie, Calum discloses unanticipated childhood trauma. He describes how he brought up the fact that his mother had forgotten his birthday and asked that she face the consequences. When Calum feels overwhelmed by anxiety, he also practices Tai Chi as a sort of coping technique.
Although it is never explicitly stated, physical exercise tends to settle him down. In these sequences, Mescal is eerie as we witness Calum disturbed by an underlying issue that is eroding him over time. He makes a concerted effort to be there for his daughter, but one evening when he is left alone, he completely loses himself, traveling to the beach before passing out in the room while entirely undressed. Did he make a suicide attempt? Has he stopped considering his obligations? We’ll never find out.
Calum doesn’t talk much; instead, his presence is characterized by a stubborn emotional absence. He remarks that he finds it difficult to see himself nearing 40 or 30 and that getting thus far is an accomplishment. Sophie truly only wants to know how her father is doing when she inquires about his whereabouts. She is aware that other circumstances did not work out well for him. He claims that he is involved with a buddy in the city, but Sophie is aware that he is not being as truthful as he seems.
Calum seems depressed, and his sorrow is visible in his reserved body language. He is also having financial difficulties; when a man lights up a discarded cigarette off the ground, you can tell he’s struggling. He seems to have found himself in an undesirable situation, and he is still gathering his strength to see what he can accomplish. As with other kids, Sophie can occasionally be a touch nagging as well, and that is when Calum draws the line. He won’t give his consent if she wants to perform karaoke in front of everyone. He won’t move and only wants to vanish.
How Does Sophie React to Calum?
The fact that grown up Sophie is queer is one of Aftersun’s most startling disclosures. She is dating a woman. Although Sophie’s queerness is no longer a top concern, her underlying relationship with her father provides a wealth of information about how she has matured. She finds it difficult to experience the same kind of attraction to the boys that the other girls do, not even while on vacation.
She views her father as being the only source of male affection in her life, which constantly leaves a great void. For Sophie, she only has a partial understanding of her father. In the end, their separation brings them together. Sophie also witnesses the two boys having sex by the pool while everyone is away. She is curious to discover how these two people are being genuine to one another only while they are hidden from view rather than passing judgment on them.
Does it imply that her father is someone else if he isn’t a parent? There is no response, and Sophie only remembers him in this way since she believes this trip was the closest she has ever been to know him as a person. Aftersun holds up a mirror for all of us, being both clear-cut and ambiguous, and showing—not telling—that, in some ways, we can never outgrow the influence of our parents.