After is a series of movies that chronicles the lives of Hardin Scott and Tessa Young as a couple in love and their journey of falling in and out of love all through their young adult lives. Hardin Scott led a far more complicated life, as he had lived on two different continents growing up. Hardin was a British-American kid and a student at the university while his father was appointed Chancellor. Hardin was considered a brat on the college campus, and the fact that his father held a big post did not bother him much.
Hardin was always considered bad news by Tessa, and she chose to stay away from him. Hardin and Tessa were attracted to each other. Hardin, who initially claimed he had no plans to become a boyfriend, was jealous of Tessa’s high school sweetheart. Hardin’s way of dealing with matters was different; they believed in anger outbursts instead of conveying his feelings to Tessa directly.
Hardin was the typical male who expected women to tolerate his temper tantrums. His methods of approaching Tessa were outdated, but somehow, they worked in his favor. Tessa and Hardin were in a relationship, and it brought out a different side of him that many in his friend circle had begun to notice. Hardin was willing to go through a transition because he was in love. As they fell deeper in love, he spoke about his mother being sexually assaulted, and him being a witness to it, which scarred him for life. He felt his father wasn’t around to protect his mother. This lack of love and protection made him shower Tessa with attention, which turned into possessiveness.
Hardin and Tessa’s first major falling out happened when she was made aware of why he’d approached her for the first time. Heartbroken over being manipulated and losing trust in someone she loved, Tessa left, which put Hardin in a bad state of mind. Not only was he instrumental in Tessa changing her major, he also helped her secure an internship with Vance Publication. Being his father’s son, Hardin had good contacts and had the reputation of being good at any job offered to him. It was his complicated past that messed with his professional life, causing him to spiral.
He tried to make things right between him and Tessa after their falling out, but she was unwilling to trust him. His need to create attention by angering Tessa and making her feel jealous only worked for some time, but as a couple, they had quickly gone back to arguing over petty matters such as her plans to move to Seattle for work. Hardin’s insecurities kept piling up as he suspected Tessa, and her colleague Trevor were attracted to each other. As a young man in love, he could not deal with his own fluctuating behavior, even though Tessa was trying to be a supportive partner. Hardin was a selfish partner who never tried to understand Tessa and her issues. He made all her concerns about himself and turned to tantrums followed by emotional manipulation. Instead of dealing with the trauma he faced growing up, he made it worse for himself and Tessa.
Instead of running away to London after Tessa’s accident, Hardin could have stayed back and helped her heal. His mother’s word of advice changed his mind and, brought him back to reality, and made things right between him and Tessa. He was okay with Tessa planning to move to Seattle, but soon, insecurity about watching Tessa grow as a professional in a different city messed with his mind again. Hardin was an example of a toxic man who has probably had most things go his way growing up until Tessa proved that she needed to keep her personal and private lives separate. Tessa comes from a family of less means, and having a job that pays well was important to her, unlike Hardin, who had people around him he could use as a cushion to fall back on.
Hardin soon understood the need to make a contribution to the relationship to make it work if he wanted Tessa around him for a longer period of time. He helped Tessa and Richard, her father, come closer and develop a healthy relationship, unlike the one he had with his dad. Hardin was willing to hear Richard out and make things right between himself and his girlfriend. Hardin convinced Tessa to attend his mother’s wedding with him in London. However, he was in for a rude shock when he caught his mother and Christian Vance, Tessa’s employer, being intimate.
The young boy also found out his biological father, Christian Vance. He was not ready to process this brand-new information, and it further complicated his life. Hardin had a hard time being around his real parents and his biological father only because he had been fed a lie all these years. Even though Ken raised him, the man was aware of Hardin’s parentage, and his admission of the mistake slowly healed the wound of being kept in the dark all this while. Hardin was quick to realize his parents were humans and allowed to make mistakes. He wanted answers for his mother’s infidelity, and he received a convincing one. Hardin was willing to take the route of forgiveness and try to make things right between him and Tessa, as they had broken up again because of his inability to allow her to help him.
Hardin tried to be there for Tessa when her father passed and be an emotionally supportive partner, but she refused to indulge in any acts of intimacy. Tessa chose to walk away from the relationship and had plans to move to New York City for better work opportunities. Hardin did not take the news well. As a partner, he wanted to do the right thing, but Tessa had sensed Hardin would relapse in case any other intimacy issue cropped up. Hardin tried to convince her things would change for good, but her past experience with him made her give up on the relationship.
Hardin was borderline emotionally dependent on Tessa, and he was having a difficult time letting go of her. Tessa and Hardin broke up, and the latter kept himself busy by attending support groups. He eventually turned the journal he had been maintaining since the first day of his relationship into a book. Even though Tessa was angry at him for publishing their private moments for people to read, Hardin tried to justify his move. He believed his book could assist those other couples who were struggling to retain their relationship.
Years later, Hardin had a hard time finishing his next book and was given a deadline to deliver it. He was struggling when the relationship ended with Tessa. He moved to Portugal only because his mother suggested he take a break to clear his mind. Hardin met his old girlfriend Natalie, and she was shocked to see him years after their breakup. Hardin and Natalie were together for a while until his friend leaked an intimate video of theirs.
The leak forced Natalie to leave her hometown, move to Portugal, and start her life over from scratch. Hardin was on a redemption journey and apologized profusely to her. This was the result of his breakup with Tessa, and he was willing to believe he had made his fair share of mistakes that led to him being alone at this point. He feels forgiveness will help him move on. His biological father, Christian, also asked him to begin working hard towards his goal of finishing his novel, or he would end up ruining his professional life as well.
Hardin did not make the mistake he made with Tessa and showed Natalie the draft of his second novel. The second novel was about Natalie, and she gave him approval to publish it. Hardin was happy to have received the closure he was seeking, and Natalie was kind enough to give him her approval. Hardin was avoiding his stepbrother Landon, but after receiving clarity on the Portugal trip, he was willing to look forward to meeting his family. Landon was getting married soon, and he wanted his best friend to become his best man in the wedding. Hardin eventually agreed to do so.
Hardin was in the process of mending relationships, and being there for his family was his first step. Landon had witnessed Hardin going through tough times. As a brother, Hardin wanted to reciprocate by being there for him on his happiest day. Hardin was emotionally strong enough to deal with Tessa at the wedding and was not keen on melting down because of their history. Hardin danced with Tessa, which was his way of offering an olive branch. His heartfelt speech included appreciating Landon’s willingness to make the relationship work and never giving up. It was his way of admitting his mistakes publicly, and Tessa was touched by his words. Hardin could have only dreamt of the perfect relationship Landon shared with his wife. In the end, Tessa and Hardin reconciled, and this time, he did not leave any stone unturned to propose marriage to her. Hardin made it a point to not disappoint Tessa and give her what she asked for.