How do we grapple with sudden, unimaginable loss?
When talking about grief, we can listen to friends’ experiences or read a myriad of books or even see ourselves in fictional characters in our beloved television shows or feature films. Experiencing grief, though, can feel like an isolating experience. Our minds race and we can feel our pulse quicken. In Misan Harriman’s astonishing short film The After, one man wades through his loss, and it feels like there is no hope in sight.
This is not just a film about sadness. Coming off of a global pandemic, a lot of us are now conditioned to keep our heads down. We tell ourselves to look the other way when we see someone in need. Harriman’s film is a call to rectify that. We need human connection, touch, and empathy if we are going to continue to call this marble of a planet our home.
David Oyelowo’s character finds himself drowning in his own sorrow. When a simple act of kindness is given to him, it jolts him back to life. In our conversation, we all talk about how unexpected and sneaky grief can be. It’s unforgiving. Oyelowo is a gifted orator–it’s one of my favorite things about him as a performer. Since his character is so far away from the man he recognizes, he delivers a nearly wordless performance in the second half. You have never seen him like this before.
The After is a film that bridges the gaps of sadness from person to person. It looks you in the face and asks you if you are going to do the right thing and help someone when they are at their lowest low.
The After is streaming now on Netflix.