Written and directed by debutant Aleem Khan, After Love is essentially a chamber piece about grief that has been expanded out across boundaries both literal and figurative. The English Channel, which has an alternate identity as La Manche, becomes a symbol of uncertainty and transition as Mary, played by Joanna Scanlan, comes to terms not only with the premature death of her husband but the discovery that he had a parallel life in France.
Nathalie Richard and Talid Ariss provide excellent support as a mother and son also prone to self-deception and furtiveness, but it is Scanlan’s nuanced performance that really holds you.
“This inventive domestic drama investigates a supposedly good marriage and is therefore bound to be compared to Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years. I prefer to see it as the flip-side of Rose Glass’s horror masterpiece, Saint Maud. In fact, if you were looking to compare and contrast non-judge-y takes on pious proles, After Love and Saint Maud would make a fabulous double bill.” Charlotte O’Sullivan, Evening Standard”
“In Scanlan’s features we see grief and humiliation twisted into possessiveness, vengefulness and misplaced compassion, as she plays simultaneously the wronged wife and a cuckoo in somebody else’s nest.” Pamela Hutchinson, BFI