THE AFTERMATH (2019) is generally well-done and deeply moving in a few places, particularly a scene where Keira Knightley’s character plays “Clair de Lune” on a Steinway piano and becomes overcome with grief.

The cultural, political, and subsequent relational tensions between English military personnel with their spouses as one social group and German citizens as another are effectively explored in the movie. From there, the major theme/wider implications of navigating cultural and political differences towards finding shared or common threads within humanity come through in THE AFTERMATH, which is primarily a tender post World War II love story set in the fall and winter of 1945 Hamburg, Germany.

Alexander Skarsgard portrays a widowed German architect who is forced to host a married British couple, played by Keira Knightley and Jason Clarke. Clarke is Lewis Morgan, an Army colonel charged with assisting in the post bombing cleanup of Hamburg. The two have lost their young son a few years before. This leaves an emotional rift between them, creating the perfect situation for romantic intrigue to develop between the gorgeous, cultured, yet sad Stephen Lubert (Skarsgard) and Knightley’s lonely and grief-stricken Rachael Morgan.

I enjoyed the gradual build up of tension between characters in such stark back-drops of a bombed out city and a large, solid house filled with beautiful things. Like hollowed out and anguish-filled Hamburg, the pristine house the main characters inhabit also feels hollow and anguish-laden.

I’m not sure if this movie is particularly original and/or intellectually challenging or stimulating with any of its themes. However, it is generally pleasant and relaxing to watch, especially if you’re in the mood to view something that moves along while not being over-stimulating with too much visual busyness or details to remember and follow.

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