After Love

Film, Drama
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
After Love

The gory details of a marital breakup in this brilliant Belgian drama

This Belgian film bravely wanders on to the bloody battlefield of a separating family, and the effect is extremely powerful, if far from pretty. Writer-director Joachim Lafosse has intelligently delved into the politics of the household before: first with 2006’s ‘Private Property’, a drama about divorce starring Isabelle Huppert; and later with the devastating ‘Our Children’, about a real-life case of infanticide.

Here, he plunges us into the home of Marie (Bérénice Bejo) and Boris (Cédric Kahn), a couple who’ve been together 15 years and have twin daughters, but whose relationship is all but over. The big snag is that Marie and Boris are still living together, and to say they’re at each other’s throats is putting it mildly. Marie is the main earner; Boris can’t afford to move out, but as a carpenter, he has expended blood, sweat and toil on the house in which they now live, and he wants his due.

Lafosse’s drama takes place in that unhappy space where reason and emotion cross over so that neither make much sense any more. ‘After Love’ is painful to watch at times, but it’s also very well performed by Bejo and Kahn. The script has a claustrophobic intensity to it but also remembers to nod to the love that once existed between the pair, and the respect that might still. It also features one of the most watch-through-your-fingers dinner party scenes ever, when Boris returns home one evening and invades a soirée Marie is holding with ‘her’ friends. Like much of the film, it’s awkward and upsetting.

By: Dave Calhoun


Release details

Release date:
Friday October 28 2016
100 mins

Cast and crew

Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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“Maybe we won’t split up. Maybe we’ll stay together.”

This French-Belgian drama, originally released with the title “L’économie du couple” (which translates as “The economy of the couple” – I didn’t even need Google for that one!), does something that few dramas of this ilk actually manage to do. It stays with you far longer than its closing credits – it lingers in a way that is both discomforting and truly unapologetic. It offers much to say about the metaphorically bloody aftermath of the ending of a relationship by not posing questions or answering questions – it simply is. In this regard it is most certainly geared towards an arthouse audience and won’t appeal to everyone – yet for those of whom it does draw in they won’t leave dissatisfied as the film is extremely moving and compassionately made. 

A decent enough film showing the fraught difficulties of a marital breakup with children.The lead actress is very good,but the male lead is a little plodding and unconvincing.Some of the dialogue seems to have been made up on the spot.The result being that each point made concerning the breakup is rather laboured to the point of tiresome (the al fresco dinner scene being the worst).Some scenes are rather repetitive and overlong.l loved the film for not relying on any music in the background..The narrative is overall a bit flat and one dimensional,and the acting uneven,but being French it still has plenty to offer..3 stars