It is the season to fall in love. February is just around the corner, and every person in love or seeking it is switching on to movies that tap into the emotion. There is no greater form of feeling than love, and with Valentine’s Day just two weeks away, it would be interesting to know what kind of movies could be viewed on that day with your loved ones. After is a series of five films based on Anna Todd’s series of novels that chronicles the stories of Tessa Young and Hardin Scott, who fall in love during their time in college.
The first film, After, was all about Tessa Young rediscovering her life in college after growing up under the thumb of her mother. She planned everything about her daughter’s life, including the college she would attend and what she would pursue after her education was completed. Everything was decided for Tessa until she ran into Hardin, her senior at college who had trouble written all over him. Their first meeting was in her dorm room, where he was seen reading a classic novel, and ever since, there has been tension between them. Tessa and Hardin tried to keep a distance from one another but soon succumbed to their desires, only to realize it was only the girl who believed there could be a future for them. Hardin Scott, who comes from a broken family and is the son of the university chancellor, has had a difficult upbringing and has a dysfunctional relationship with his father, Ken.
The first film was all about Tessa and Hardin getting to know each other and eventually falling in love. There was a lot of emotional and physical intimacy shared between the two, and it felt like they were meant for each other. It was the first time Tessa stood up to her mother and decided to change her majors in college. Hardin, on the other hand, was going to be the stepbrother of Tessa’s best friend, Landon. Landon’s mother was all set to marry Hardin’s father, and this was his way of coming out clean and starting afresh with his son. Hardin was not happy with the idea of his father remarrying, as his mother, Trish, suffered for many years while being married to him. Trish was also sexually assaulted by people known to Ken; Hardin, as a kid, was witness to that and has suffered from nightmares ever since. Tessa, on the other hand, was clear about her goals and the love she had for Hardin. At the end of first After film, Tessa finally found about the Hardin’s bet that he had made with his friend to woo the girl and make her fall madly in love with him. Humiliated by the fact that Hardin had faked everything up until now, Tessa broke up with him and got herself an internship with a publishing house after deciding to change her major to literature.
The second film, After We Collided, began with Tessa interning for Vance Publications. She also learned Hardin was responsible for her securing an intern position at the place with excellent perks. She begins working with Trevor Mathews, and they develop a healthy friendship over the little time they spend together. Trevor, though, had developed feelings for Tessa, but he knew her on-and-off relationship with Hardin would cost him his mental peace. Even though Hardin and Tessa made up, the latter had plenty of trust issues, which led to constant fights between the two. In that process, Tessa met with an accident, and Hardin was requested by Trevor and Landon to stay away from her just for her mental well-being and quick recovery. In her time of need, instead of staying back, Hardin flew away to London, only for him to be advised by his mother to work on the love he shared with Tessa. On returning to America, the couple reconciled and moved back to the apartment they were living in. During this period, Tessa decided to move to Seattle for a work-related project. To her horror, she ran into Richard, her father, who had turned to the streets and become homeless.
The third film, After We Fell, had Tessa juggling a lot of tasks. One involved catching up with her college work. The second involved dealing with Hardin and figuring out how to make the relationship work, as her move to Seattle was inevitable. The most important work was to develop an organic father-and-daughter relationship with Richard, whom she had not met in years. Richard was an alcoholic, which is probably why he was rendered homeless. Since Tessa had not met him in years, she wanted to provide him as many things as she could and make him feel comfortable. Hardin, on the other hand, had trouble dealing with the idea of Tessa planning to move to another city. He also did not trust Richard initially, but regular conversations with him made it easy for him to make Tessa’s father a part of their lives. Hardin and Tessa flew to London for his mother’s wedding, but all the excitement came crashing down when he witnessed his mother cheating on her fiancé with Christian Vance, Tessa’s employer. Christian Vance was also a close friend of Hardin’s parents. To his shock, he also learns Christian Vance was his biological father, but he never dared to come out and admit it. This was the end of the third film, which had Tessa and Hardin embracing each other in the wake of this news that shook him to the core.
In the fourth film, After Ever Happy, Tessa and Hardin had their relationship go through a breakdown only because of his inability to deal with the news about his parentage. Hardin purposely pushed Tessa away in the hope of processing the news on his own. Meanwhile, Tessa was done dealing with his mood swings and reached home to find her father had passed away. The news broke her down, and she was unwilling to converse with anyone, especially Hardin. She deliberately chose to keep him away so she could process the pain on her own. Being on her own helped come to a a decision about breaking up with Hardin once and for all, even though he tried to change her mind. Her plan to move to New York also came a while after her father’s passing, which further enraged Hardin.
Hardin tried hard to make things right between them, but Tessa had made up her mind, moved to the city, and began living with Landon and his girlfriend. Hardin visited New York City under the pretext of meeting Landon. His conversation with Tessa led nowhere, as the latter had no plans to change her mind. She was further enraged when she learned his first book, After, was about her. Tessa was angry because she felt Hardin could have gotten her consent before publishing the book. This sealed the deal for the two, and she ended any scope for reconciliation. Tessa realized this relationship would turn more toxic than it was, and they should seek something that makes them happy rather than miserable. Hardin agreed and left the city. Hopefully, the fifth film, the last in the series, After Everything, will cover their lives after the breakup and how they would deal with their newfound lives without being around each other.