Review: After Love (Joachim Lafosse, 2016)

“People used to be able to mend stuff. They’d mend socks, fridges… Now, they throw them out at the first problem. A relationship is the same. No desire, out it goes. But nobody’s perfect.”

The above dialogue comes from the mother of one of After Love’s protagonists. Considering how it sounds like a mission statement of sorts when taken out of context, one who’s not yet seen the film might expect that the marital feud at the film’s centre eventually dissipates, that perhaps the people facing an amorous breakdown might seek to persevere and stay together for the kids. But happy endings aren’t really the forte of Belgian director Joachim Lafosse, whose international breakthrough, 2012’s Our Children, was based on a true infanticide case.

The good news is that you need not fear for the fate of the kids entangled in the marital crisis of After Love, for they make it to the end of the film relatively unscathed. After Love is near enough a chamber piece, with all but a brief final act excursion taking place in the single ground floor apartment in which Marie (Bejo) and Boris (Kahn) have lived on relatively happy terms. When we enter the home, the separation has long been decided; we’re not witness to any instigating incident that finally set the ball rolling, but there’s plenty to infer from the radiating resentment in their exchanges or little looks of considerable discomfort…

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