The Aftermath (2019)

James Kent directs Keira Knightley, Alexander Skarsgård and Jason Clarke in this post-war romance where the troubled marriage between a grieving officer and his beautiful wife catches the attention of the Hamburg architect who loses his stately home to them.

Who doesn’t like a glossy period romance? This ambles along beautifully. It is also far less distasteful than the similarly pitched Suite Francaise. Here every character is given a delicious blur of humanity and shadow. All actors inhabit their roles with bold, sexy star power. The Nazi youth subplot and sympathetic look at life in the ruins of occupation for the defeated Germans adds bite. The wrap-up is unexpected yet hopeful. Better than you’ve been led to believe, if not quite the classic it wants to echo. Brief Encounter, Casablanca, A Foreign Affair are all cribbed from though it never reaches any of those giddy heights. The costumes are particularly lovely… yet how a resplendent Keira Knightley managed to cram quite so many dresses and skirts into her little red suitcase, as seen at the start, I’ll never know?



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