The Aftermath

Based on the 2013 novel of the same name written by Rhidian Brooke, The Aftermath is a visually stylish period drama with a terrific cast and intriguing story, but the film falters as a result of its formulaic and soapy script. Set in war-ravaged Hamburg, Germany in 1946 following the end of World War II, the plot follows a beautiful young English woman named Rachael, played by Oscar nominee Keira Knightley, who reunites with her husband Lewis Morgan, played by Jason Clarke, serving as a colonel in the British Forces Germany tasked with helping rebuild post-war Germany. Unbeknownst to her on her arrival to Germany, they are to live in a large mansion owned by a German widower who is going to be displaced from his home along with his teenage daughter. The previously wealthy architect Stefan Lubert, played by Emmy winner Alexander Skarsgård, and his rebellious daughter Susan are allowed to stay in the attic of the house until the time comes when they have to move out on the orders of the British military. Deeply unhappy about the situation and having to live in the ruins of a city away from the comforts of London, Rachael expresses her great displeasure to her husband who is often out of the house working long hours. Almost from the instant that the characters meet one another, it becomes rather predictable that Rachael and Stefan pretty soon begin a friendship and then a intimate romantic relationship that is kept a secret from Lewis for a time. Aesthetically well-crafted, the movie seems to drag on for a while as the illicit affair begins to cause great problems in Rachael’s marriage and Stefan’s connection with his depressed daughter who lost her mother and his wife in a bombing during the war. Overall, I thought it was a decent movie that surprisingly did not use the extremely talented cast to its full potential and relied too heavily on the expected tropes of the romantic drama genre.

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