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After Ever Happy; Grade: F

After Ever Happy tells a story about a boy named Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) whom has unexpectedly discovered his real biological father, which has led Hardin to burning down their house. Tessa (Josephine Langford) has constantly dealt with the dysfunction and toxicity of Hardin countless amount of times over again, however she’s still willing to continue on their relationship despite so many signs leaning for Tessa to go towards another direction. Hardin appears at a party where a girls arms is wrapped around his body, as Tessa gave Hardin the ultimatum to choose her or the party as strange enough… Hardin chose the party. This time for sure Tessa and Hardin go on their separate ways as followed, however there’s always a slight indication that their “love” will find it’s way back. But could it be different this time foreal?!

From 2015 and on: Hollywood has brought us a new era of romance cinema known as the Toxic Romance Era. From Fifty Shades, to 365 Days, and of course After: These film franchises all deal with severely toxic dysfunctional relationships, in which people can’t seem to comprehend why exactly are the romantic pair even an item to begin with?! Especially considering the main male character is always troubled, obnoxious, abusive, and just an overall jerkoff that you scream at the lead female character why she does she just leave his sorry ass already?!

I can kind of understand why this has been a sudden trend, considering the fact that romance in the modern day era has normalized some severely problematic romantic traits that are further away from real romance. We as a society tend to let our significant other off the hook for mistreating us or cheating on us, as we drain ourselves effortlessly knowing good and well the more we allow this kind of behavior to go on, they’ll continue to do it over and over again. I mean the After series is a prime example: For four films now, we have continue to experience the same exact toxic relationship unfold over and over again.

It’s amazing how I continue to partake in the After series, knowing good and well I’m expecting to receive trash. However: I feel my interest in continuing on is to see where exactly does this series go, knowing good and well it’s a very bland and directionless romantic series with very little to unpack. After Ever Happy though does at least switch up the beloved romantic pair a little bit, it still feels like the writers are struggling immensely to come up with anything interesting enough to continue the series.

The story goes through the same exact After storyline formula we’re used to seeing time and time again. Hardin goes through a rapid temper rampage, Tessa tries to help him out but is struggling to come to terms of continuing on the relationship, they have sex as Tessa believes their love can continue, Hardin fucks up per usual, they find their way back for a moment, they separate because Hardin fucks up again, they find their way back… IT’S THE SAME THING FOR FOUR FILMS NOW!!!

I really don’t understand the minds of these characters whatsoever. Like Tessa has experienced Hardin burning down a family members house just because he found out his real father, yet because she has sex with Hardin now she believes their love can thrive, as Hardin can be trusted?! Tessa is an extremely pretty and sweet girl, why does she continue to be so dumb?! Never once has this relationship ever thrive to any kind of stability whatsoever, no benefits towards her own well being whatsoever, but because Hardin is good in the bedroom that means the relationship is worth saving?!

The film tweaks little changes. Hardin openly admits how problematic he is, Tessa stands on her ground longer than usual as she doesn’t go to bed with Hardin as much, while Tessa also goes to a brief different direction in her love life. Sure these changes are briefly appreciated: The story however still feels entirely directionless with these changes, especially considering Tessa allows Hardin to come and about with her life, while her new romantic partner is completely irrelevant to the story other than two random sequences that doesn’t make much of a difference, as you completely forgotten this relationship existed.

The pacing felt extremely slow, as there’s really not much going on within the story as it feels like we’re experiencing writers block. When a film series has really no place to thrive in relationship matters or character development matters… It’s hard to imagine creating an interesting enough storyline worth caring, as this film really struggles hard to deliver just that. It’s really a repetitive recycled storyline that is constantly retold over and over again, with just a minor or a couple minor adjustments here and there to at least change a little pace?

You feel this film series has become extremely directionless, when it comes to the final shot of this film. The film just abruptly ends on what appears to be not even a cliffhanger worth keeping the audience on their toes… I was genuinely surprised it just ends like that, we receive a “To Be Continued” title on the screen, as you question what is there to continue with exactly?! At least the other films the cliff hangers as dumb as they are, bring some kind of attention to the audience as it’s an unexpected conclusion within those films. With this unexpected conclusion: What is there to look forward to in the next film?! Absolutely nothing: Even these writers are completely dead in terms of coming up with ideas worth investing themselves with.

Overall, After Ever Happy was terrible per usual, but feels much more bland than the previous entires. I don’t recommend this film, I do recommend this generation do a better job in the romance field, so we don’t have to experience such awful romance films like these. -Mitch Smietana

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