After Love tells a very realistic tale of a Husband and Wife who have ended their marriage and yet live in the same house with their two 10-year-old twin girls. I’m guessing the age there about the twin girls as it’s never made clear. This film is going to hit a cord with many people who watch it. I want to point out now that I’m sure that a lot of other reviewers are going to give this four or five out of five, and rightly so, however I don’t write the technical or spoiler reviews that others write, I write about how a film makes me feel. This film while written, directed and performed as near perfectly as you can find in French language films, is just very difficult to get through.
The subject of the film is close to home with something a friend is going through. Her marriage, and I’m not naming names, is over but the Husband, because divorce in Ireland is heartbreakingly hard, won’t leave the house. They have to cohabit until he agrees to leave the house of his own choice. It’s a tough situation to watch someone I pretend to care for go through. Like this real situation After Love shows the difficulties that must be a reality for everyone in that situation. It used to be that a marriage ended the man left the house and could afford to move to a new place. But rents and lack of employment means that this is not as easy these days and After Love plays on that.
Boris and Marie are splitting up but because of financial negotiations there is a sticking point with Boris leave the house. The twin girls are caught in the crossfire of this. We never get to know the full reason why the marriage is about to end, although we know that Boris owes a large amount of cash to some seedy folks, and cannot keep work coming in from his building career. All the evidence that we’re shown shows that Marie has just forgiven one too many times. Their arguments don’t feel forced, they are natural beings created by two people who in some ways still love each other but shouldn’t be in the same room as one another. After fifteen years the time has come for them to go their separate ways but they have to come to terms first of all.
For me the realism that surrounds the whole film is the downfall, others will see it differently, but as I always say ‘This is why there is more than one reviewer invited to a press show.’ The main performers of Marie and Boris nail every scene, the rare moments of loves to the anger and hate of the moment of an argument. The Artists Berenice Bejo plays Marie as a woman who is trying to still be the mother that the girls need, and feels that she can do this better without Boris being an ever-present body in the house. While Cedric Kahn is Boris, who has failed at most things in his life and seems to love his wife in one moment and then is ready to walk away in the next.
The effects that their constant and bitter arguments have on the children are brushed upon through the film and when things come to a head you question this incident as maybe it was an accident or a cry for help.
For anyone going through a bitter end of a relationship, or if that wound is still healing, this is probably a film you may want to skip. Just for your own soul. There is nothing wrong with the film but it will open up old wounds and just poke them with a stick until you lose your will to go on. That may sound a little extreme but film has the power to change your mood, and this one, well it was just tough to get through.