The Aftermath Parent Guide
Exquisite costumes and a captivating 1940's period design isn't enough to save this soulless and adulterous historical romance,
Parent Movie Review
When Colonel Lewis Morgan (Jason Clarke), an officer in charge of the British occupation force in post-World War II Germany, is posted to Hamburg, his wife Rachael (Keira Knightley) is allowed to join him. They requisition a house, occupied by widowed architect Stefan Lubert (Alexander Skarsgard) and his daughter Heike (Anna Katharina Schimrigk). Although Rachael, a survivor of the Blitz in London, is initially quite hostile towards the Germans, she soon finds that her feelings for Stefan are changing…
My initial response to The Aftermath is confusion: I’m not sure who its intended audience is. It makes for an awful date night movie, unless you and your date are really into adultery and cities full of rubble. It’s not a strong enough period drama to get the history buffs interested, it’s not steamy enough for the romance crowd, and it’s not well enough produced to be Oscar-bait.
Keira Knightley does her best to save this movie, and her raw emotional scenes are easily the most impressive in the film. Unfortunately, she can’t conjure up any chemistry with the other characters. As her husband, Jason Clarke actually turns in a half decent performance (a massive shock after his wooden turn in Pet Sematary), managing to smile and occasionally emote, and even that miracle isn’t enough to make this movie feel the least bit organic. You’d think that a solid actor like Alexander Skarsgard would be able to generate some on-screen heat with a powerhouse like Keira Knightley, but you’d be wrong. At the end of the day, it feels like the producers wanted to get the hottest, skinniest actors on set to have a steamy sex scene and didn’t care if it made much sense or had any emotional authenticity.
Although the relationships in this film fall flat the production values aren’t bad. The visual design is quite nice if you like that ritzy 1940’s style, and the costumes are very impressive. If it weren’t for the graphic nudity, I’d recommend watching the film on mute or over someone’s shoulder on an airplane. But the sexual content is going to be a big problem for most parents: there are explicit sexual scenes showing a woman’s breasts and those scenes involve an extra-marital relationship.
Within this adulterous context, even good visual design and a top-billed cast are not enough to save this bombed out shell of a romantic drama. The Aftermath is a bleak and emotionally stunted period piece, and the only reason it could possibly be worth the price of admission is to prove that Jason Clarke is able to simulate more than two emotions.Directed by James Kent. Starring Keira Knightley, Ned Wills, and Pandora Colin. Running time: 108 minutes. Theatrical release April 5, 2019. Updated April 8, 2019
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Aftermath rated R? The Aftermath is rated R by the MPAA for sexual content/nudity, and violence including some disturbing images
Violence: An individual is shot in the neck and dies. Corpses are shown in the streets. Burned bodies are shown being removed from the rubble of bombed buildings. Pictures of the Holocaust are shown. An individual is struck in the head. A prisoner is beaten while in shackles to encourage him to divulge information. An individual is shot in the head. Someone falls through ice and drowns.
Sexual Content: All of the sexual content in this film is adulterous. There is a sex scene without visible nudity, and a longer one with graphic nudity, including a woman’s breasts. A woman is shown in the bath from the neck up.
Profanity: There is one use of an “Extreme” profanity, and almost no other swearing, apart from several terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters are shown smoking frequently, as was common at the time. One does so on the advice of her doctor. Adult characters are shown drinking socially, occasionally to excess.
Page last updated April 8, 2019
The Aftermath Parents' Guide
What rationale does Rachael use to justify her adulterous affair? Why is rationalization such a dangerous behavior? Have you ever rationalized things you later regretted?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
The aftermath of World War II had powerful effects, both globally and individually. A Woman in Berlin, published by an anonymous author, recounts the two months after the fall of Berlin from the diary kept by the writer. This is a powerful and heartbreaking personal account, and readers should be aware that there are graphic depictions of sexual assault.
Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 by Tony Just sets the events after the war in a long-term historical context.
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Keira Knightley shines in Pride & Prejudice, another period drama, this time set in Regency England. She also plays a supporting role in The Imitation Game, a movie based on a true story from the Second World War. She dons period costume yet again to appear in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.