"50 SHADES OF GREY for Teenagers"
What You Need To Know:
AFTER is based on a book that could be considered a young adult version of 50 SHADES OF GREY. The basic story has been told many times before in different ways, but that follow a similar sort of formula. Besides this, the message behind this movie is very negative, especially for the teenage viewers it’s meant to attract. There’s an unnecessarily high amount of sexual content and immorality in AFTER, which makes it totally unacceptable. AFTER sends the wrong messages to all viewers, but especially to teenage viewers and young adults.
AFTER follows a college freshman as she begins her collegiate experience and falls for a guy who’s wrong for her for more than one reason.
The movie begins as hopeful college freshman, Tessa Young, moves into her new school and meets her roommate. Her roommate isn’t a freshman and immediately makes it clear how she likes to spend her free time. After hearing from her roommate, Tessa’s mother walks out and gives her a strict talk about not being negatively influenced by anyone else. Tessa assures her that she will stay focused, and her mother and her boyfriend, Noah, return home.
However, not long after their departure, Tessa has been convinced by her roommate to go to a house party. At the party, she gets to know more of her new college friends as they play a game of Truth or Dare. Feeling uncomfortable playing, Tessa leaves and finds a place where she feels more at home, books. She’s interrupted by a brooding bad boy named Hardin, as he slowly works his magic on her, making her want him even against her own will.
This relationship slowly progresses as Tessa begins to see Hardin more and more. When he shows her his secret hiding place at a lake, she knows the way that she feels about him. Although she’s still in a relationship with a boyfriend back home, Tessa allows him to kiss her and touch her, and allows herself to feel very deeply for him. When the feelings that Tessa has for Hardin grow stronger, she hurts her boyfriend badly as he learns about Hardin the hard way.
Tessa and Hardin seem to be made for each other, reading literature and laughing together. She attends the wedding of his father with him, helping him make it through a tough time. They soon move into an apartment together, after her mother cuts her off financially when she learns of their relationship. However, when Tessa sees mysterious text messages appearing on Hardin’s phone, she discovers he’s had a secret the whole time that could be the undoing of their relationship.
AFTER is a stereotype in itself of a movie. Almost every element of this story has been told so many times before that it’s almost unbearable to see again. The good girl gets involved with the wounded bad boy in school, who drives a classic car and wears a Ramones band T-shirt. This guy acts like a jerk to everyone around him, including his father and people who try to be kind to him, yet viewers are led to romanticize him. The scenarios are unrealistic and dramatized in order to make teenage girls in the audience swoon.
There’s nothing redemptive or moral about the message in this movie as it excuses immoral behavior for the pursuit of love. Besides this, AFTER has a high amount of sexual content, as the movie pushes the limits of what is PG-13 acceptable. The story shows that infidelity is permissible and a disregard for other people leaves no consequences. AFTER is totally unacceptable viewing. It sends the wrong messages to all viewers, but especially to teenage viewers and young adults.