'After' film trailer attacked by viewers for 'glorifying unhealthy relationships'

'After' is based on the 2014 novel of the same name by author Anna Todd and has managed to attract criticism from anti-abuse campaigners, as well as fans of Ariana Grande and Harry Styles

Clémence Michallon
New York
Monday 26 November 2018 22:48
After - trailer

An upcoming romance film has been criticised for glorifying toxic relationships following the release of its trailer.

After, which is scheduled to be released in April 2019 in the US, is the big screen adaptation of the 2014 novel of the same name by author Anna Todd.

The novel itself originated as a popular fan fiction dedicated to One Direction singer Harry Styles, who inspired the character of Hardin Scott in Todd's books.

After has become part of a bestselling, five-book series. Simon & Schuster paid a "mid-six-figure" sum for the rights to a three-volume series, Publishers Weekly reported in 2014.

The original fan fiction version has garnered more than 1.5 billion reads on the online platform Wattpad, where Todd published them.

The trailer for the movie adaptation shows American college student Tessa Young (Josephine Langford) falling for Hardin (Hero Fiennes Tiffin), a young, tattooed British man who is described as "complicated" by one of his friends.

Several viewers criticised the clip, expressing concerns at the relationship patterns modelled by Tessa and Hardin's story.

In Todd's fan fiction, the male love interest is described as grabbing Tessa's arm during an argument, and saying things such as "I want you and I should be able to have you whenever I want to."

At one point, Tessa, describing her lover's hand, says it is "large enough" to hold both of her wrists and adds: "For a second I think he may slap me."

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After watching the After trailer, one viewer called the film "complete trash" on Twitter.

"I truly hope y’all don’t go see that movie that glorifies unhealthy relationships," she added.

Another person deemed the trailer "lame" and wrote: "We love and support a toxic relationship and we love to romanticize abusers!"

One viewer wondered: "Why did they make a movie about an abusive and toxic relationship?"

Some of Styles's fans made a point of highlighting the fact that the story is a work of fiction.

"This #AfterMovie is FICTIONAL. It’s the fantasies of the writer and doesn’t represent Harry or who he really is as a person," one person wrote.

"Just leaving this out here because some people seem to get it mixed up. Fictional."

Some of Ariana Grande's fans, too, were aggrieved by the trailer, which features Grande's song "Dangerous Woman".

"Isn't it funny that in After movie trailer they're using "Dangerous Woman" when the movie is about toxic relationship, the girl who can't say no and he literally made her weak," one person tweeted.

"I’m just angry the After movie trailer used one of Ariana’s songs don’t do her dirty like this," someone else wrote.

The Independent has reached out to Todd's representatives for comment.

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