Sunday, October 14, 2018

film review for VOD: After Everything

Written and Directed by: Hannah Marks, Joey Power
Featuring: Jeremy Allen White, Maika Monroe, Marisa Tomei, Joe Keery 

ChinoKino score: B-

Review by Allan Tong

A young New York couple fall in love, except that he comes down with cancer. Not exactly your typical romantic film. This is a brave film for exploring the devotion and anguish that drives these difficult relationships. A solid idea for a movie, but told from whose point of view?

My bet is hers, Mia, a no-nonsense young woman who works in a cubicle at a marketing firm. Maika Monroe does a good job of fleshing out Mia as she falls in love with the aimless yet flirtatious Elliot (Jeremy Allen White). Mia then nurses him through endless rounds of chemotherapy. If you've ever accompanied a loved one to chemo, then you now how wrenching this experience is for both parties. This film captures that pain. Further, Mia keeps the relationship alive, working for them both, and carrying the strain of balancing work and his cancer therapy.

[spoiler alert]
However, the movie loses momentum, after Elliot survives chemo. Mia changes, and you sympathize with her. Elliot turns into a dick, and his story is simply less compelling. If Elliott is tortured inside for how he treats Mia, we don't feel it. Instead, you want to know how Mia extricates herself from this failed relationship. After Everything should have been told from her perspective.

Elliot is a bit of a mystery. We're not sure what drives him outside of his battle with cancer and him chasing girls. What are his vulnerabilities? His dreams? Or maybe he has none. Does the cancer force him to confront his life-to-date and discover something lacking in his character? What does this experience teach him? Don't know.

Marisa Tomei cameos as Elliot's doctor and is a welcome presence. Also, the friends and roommates of both lovers provide colour and humour to offset the dour subject matter. After Everything strives for compassion, but never gets weepy or cliched. Though flawed, it is an honest movie.

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