By: Grace Copperthite
When Tessa reads Hardin’s apology note- finding out that he was only intimate with her for a prank- the world waited to see what would transpire between the couple. Would she forgive him? Should she forgive him? About a year-and-a-half later, we found out a couple of days ago in “After 2: After We Collided.”
The movie begins with a wide-eyed, stressed-out Tessa (Josephine Langford) heading to her first day at Vance Publishing. She has an embarrassing encounter with her new co-worker Trevor (Dylan Sprouse) and is almost immediately invited to a huge party by Mr. Vance (Charlie Weber) himself. Tessa ends up getting completely wasted and calls her ex-boyfriend, Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin).
Let’s just say things didn’t turn out well. Tessa and Hardin’s relationship seems to go back to normal until Hardin fails to face his past demons.
Tessa is left feeling like he hasn’t changed at all, and she is still unable to fully trust and forgive him. Throughout the movie, the couple battles their love together while jumping through obstacles that always seem to be in their way.
“After We Collided” does a great job of showing the trials and tribulations that Hardin faces; it details his alcoholism, relapsing, and the trauma he suffered as a child, allowing the audience to sympathize with his character.
The movie also reveals the rebuilding of trust in relationships is not something linear. Starting off rough at first, it’s clear that Hardin is trying. His efforts lead to Tessa falling back in love and slowly learning to trust him again.
He reveals a tiny bit more of his soft-side (which is as much as he can do, I get it) and tells Tessa she’s the only one for him, but his actions spoke louder than words, causing all of Tessa’s built-up trust for him to come crumbling back down.
It’s hard to come back from losing trust, but I believe with consistency and time, Hardin and Tessa can and will make it.
Personally, my favorite scene from the movie is on Tessa’s birthday. In this scene you get to see that Hardin’s feelings for her are genuine; he wants to change for the better and spend quality time with her.
Also, if you missed the nod to Harry Styles, whom Hardin is based on, Hardin signs Tessa’s card “Love, H,” which is how Harry signs off anything he writes.
However, as cute as this scene is, I feel as though Tessa is holding onto an idea of Hardin, that he has changed and wants to be the super-sweet, nontoxic boyfriend she needs. She goes as far as to say she’ll take him back if he continues to act as he did on her birthday every day.
He explains that he can’t promise, but he will try.
Dylan Sprouse’s character, Trevor, was also one of my favorite things about this movie. Sprouse portrayed this character exceptionally. He was funny, nerdy, and the underdog that I caught myself rooting for. However, I wish we got to see more of Trevor and Hardin’s rivalry.
In the book, Hardin is ridiculously jealous of Trevor and Tessa’s friendship and often refers to him as “Fucking Trevor” (one of the most iconic lines, in my opinion) and starts fights when Tessa hangs out with him.
One thing that really bothered me, however, was how her mom continues to overreact about their relationship. I wish Tessa’s mom would actually hear her out and understand that Hardin is at least putting in (a little) more effort to become the guy she needs and wants. But also the fact that her daughter is happy and in love.
In true “After” fashion, the movie ends on a crazy cliffhanger that left me wanting more. I genuinely was on the edge of my seat with so many unanswered questions.
While the drama was there, the passion was not. I wish the script had allowed Hardin’s character to break down more of his walls and be genuinely upset when he realized that Tessa can’t trust him. In comparison to the first movie, the steamier scenes were a whole lot less awkward and Hardin (kind of) has a personality outside of being a jerk.
In “After 3,” I hope we get more special moments like Tessa’s birthday, or when Hardin gives her an early Christmas present. I also hope to see more of Trevor’s character and his rivalry with Hardin, especially since his friendship with Tessa is supposed to grow.
The character development and maturity of Tessa and Hardin’s relationship still has a long way to go, but they’re trying, and I can’t wait to see what “After 3” has in-store for those of us craving more passion and growth, and of course, all the drama.