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Movie Review: ‘After We Collided’ runs into toxic behavior

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Deja Goode
Arts Editor

Wattpad Studios released “After We Collided,” the second installment of the “After” movies series, Oct. 23, continuing the drama-filled love story of Hardin and Tessa, who met in college.

The story “After” was written by Anna Todd on Wattpad.com, a website for amateur writers to share their pieces, whether it be poetry or novels. Todd’s story was originally a fanfiction piece about former One Direction member Harry Styles and since then has been revamped into a teen romance drama. 

The movie’s main characters, Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin) and Theresa “Tessa” Young (Josephine Langford), went through a rough patch in the first film. Hardin, a brooding Englishman with lots of baggage from a rough childhood and an alcoholic past, pursued Tessa despite being in a committed relationship. Tessa discovered she was in a web of Hardin’s lies and their entire relationship was based on a bet for money. 

Despite the intriguing plot, the movie tended to over-dramatize a lot of the situations to the point where it came off very forced.

The new movie starts with a depressed and anger-filled Hardin begging for Tessa to respond to his texts and calls. However, Tessa has moved on with her life with a new internship at a company called Vance Publishing where she reads and copy-edits novels all day. To her misfortune, Hardin still manages to be involved as he was a former intern at Vance Publishing, and the CEO of the company happens to be an old family friend. 

The toxic cycle of these two lovers is never-ending. Hardin appears at a business party attended by Tessa because he “had her location.” In most instances, this behavior would be stalker-like and uncomfortable. But not according to Tessa.

Hardin flies his mother in from England to stay at the apartment the couple used to share. They run into Tessa while she is moving the last of her stuff out. Hardin manipulates Tessa into pretending they are still together for the sake of his mother’s happiness, which leads to them getting back together anyway. 

Not only does this feel rushed because it was all within the first hour of the movie, but it is also draining to see them run in circles with the toxicity that made their relationship end in the first place. 

After an argument at a New Year’s party, Tessa admits she cannot trust Hardin because of his womanizer past, causing him to say harmful things and make her run off. To top off these events, she gets into a car accident the following morning while looking for him because he didn’t return home. Hardin, ever so brooding per usual, runs off back to England leaving Tessa behind. Despite leaving her a note saying they can never see each other again, he returns to yet another one of Tessa’s business parties begging for her forgiveness. 

The entire situation regarding Tessa’s car crash is for shock value, but it only makes the portrayal of their relationship extremely corny with the unnecessary drama that leaves a lot of plot holes and does not make much sense. 

“After We Collided” normalizes emotionally abusive relationships to the point where this is the one thing that defines the entire movie. There does not seem to be any character development and too many questions are left unanswered.

“After We Collided” is available for streaming on Amazon Prime, Google Play and other services.

The next installment in the series, titled “After We Fell,” is scheduled for release in September 2021. 

Deja Goode can be reached at deja.goode@laverne.edu.

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