After Ever Happy Review: What Tragedy Happens to Tessa in After Ever Happy?

This desultory sequel picks up at the English wedding that Tessa Young (Josephine Langford, dewy) and Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin, surly) were attending at the end of the previous film when Hardin discovered his bride-to-be mom Trish (Louise Lombard) having sex with her not-fiancé Christian (James McAvoy) (Stephen Moyer). Christian is revealed to be Hardin’s biological father, allowing him to begin this episode in his preferred psychological state: a funk.

To be fair, given the series’ track record of continuously recasting the older generation’s roles, there are plenty of reasons for parents to be upset and confused: Moyer is the second actor to portray Christian; Peter Gallagher and Rob Estes have both played Hardin’s father, Ken Scott; the less said about the three actresses who have been cast as Hardin’s stepmom, the better; and imagine being Tessa, returning home to your mother Selma Blair in “After We Collided” only to discover that she is now Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino in “After We Fell.” The absence of object permanence with regard to one’s parents is sufficient to drive anyone to drink.

So, recalling his alcoholism and forgetting his love-inspired reformation, Hardin downs a shot of whisky and runs off to torch his old house, oblivious to Tessa, who follows him while bleating like a veal calf.

Their romance appears to be on the rocks once more, but fans know not to worry too much, as the duo will continue to flick the on/off switch so rapidly that it should come with a strobe warning for epileptics. In one of their off times, Tessa returns home to Washington State, where she is met with an even greater daddy issue than Hardin, namely her father’s body in her apartment, where the formerly destitute man overdosed.

Hardin, who is still in London punching walls and awkwardly dropping F-bombs into every sentence like he’s meeting the R-rating quota, hadn’t been taking Tessa’s calls, but a mutual friend informs him of her crisis, and he repentantly flies to be by her side, only to discover that she no longer speaks to him, etc.

_After Ever Happy Review
_After Ever Happy Review

There is at least one more cycle of make-up and break-up, at least two more gauzy flashbacks to those pleasant afternoons spent baking (?) together, and perhaps three more instances in which they reference Hemingway, who has replaced Jane Austen as “After’s” literary touchstone of the moment. He is currently whirling so violently in his grave that the entire state of Idaho is in great danger of collapsing.

Director Castille Landon shot the third and fourth installments back-to-back during the pandemic, substituting Bulgaria for the various settings, which may account for the film’s shaky sense of time and place.

Except for one-time jump indicated by Tessa’s sudden and quite wiggy-looking bangs, it is difficult to determine whether this scenario takes place on another continent or in the café next door to that one, or whether it occurs in the next minute, the next day, or several months from now.

The photography, by Rob Givens and Joshua Reis, is gauzy and insincere, and sometimes just plain odd, such as when the camera does an admiring sweep up Tessa’s body as if she had just undergone a major makeover, when in fact she looks exactly the same as before — except perhaps she changed her tights? And it’s notably unnaturally lit during the film’s two bland sex scenes, which are hindered by the persistent, surprising lack of chemistry between the stars.

Despite their best attempts, the erotic voltage between their golden-colored humping sessions and a glass of milk and a ham sandwich is nearly equivalent. To cite a conversation that occurs when Tessa is given a dish in a restaurant: “Is it spicy?” “No.”

_After Ever Happy Review
_After Ever Happy Review

Based on the Harry Styles fanfiction-inspired Young Adult book series by Anna Todd, who also co-wrote the final three screenplays, the “After” films have gained a dedicated fanbase. Regarding these perplexingly self-titled “Alternators,” it is maybe understandable why, during a pandemic, a portion of a homebound population deprived of excitement came to believe that this was the best they deserved.

But surely even they will be disgusted by the total formlessness of this episode, which, given the franchise’s aggregator ratings to date (18%, 13%, 0%), might, like the series’ box office numbers, defy all laws of mathematical logic and give us the world’s first sub-zero Rotten Tomatoes rating.


Regardless, when that final “to be continued…” title appears — and never has a girly, curvy font looked more like a ransom note — it’s by far the most heart-wrenching #Hessa moment to date, as we realize we’re still at least one entire film away from freedom from this absolute nonentity of a franchise. The introductory voiceover of “After Ever Happy” states, “We all have our demons.” The supposedly unkillable “After” series is one of them, and it is not yet finished with us.

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What is After Ever Happy’s secret?

The man with whom Trish is having an affair is Christian, the best friend of Hardin’s father, Ken. After the wedding, Christian discloses that he is Hardin’s biological father during a conversation with Hardin.

Do Hardin and Tessa marry in the novel After Ever Happy?

Even though he is now a famous author, Hardin visits every weekend since he published a book about their love. At Landon’s wedding, Hardin proposes to Tessa, and they flee to Las Vegas to wed. After a miscarriage, they have a son and a daughter.

What disaster befalls Tessa in the novel After Ever Happy?

Hardin finds the identity of his biological father, driving him to torch his mother’s flat. A few days later, Tessa discovers her father dead from an overdose on the bathroom floor. Such tragedies are merely collateral damage in the “After” series.

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