“I will see you tonight then?” – “It’s Tuesday, so…I am going to go to Dad’s.”

Sometimes, a debutant director comes up with a film that makes them a force to be reckoned with. In 2022, amongst the myriad of films, one film that caught everyone’s attention was “Aftersun”, a debut feature from Scottish director-screenwriter Charlotte Wells. The movie, at first glance, might have looked like a father-daughter story who spend a vacation together, but the film was much more than that. It had a dynamic between the characters that were rarely explored, and immediately after I finished watching it, I was surprised by the natural and playful interactions between Paul Mescal’s Calum and his on-screen daughter, Sophie, played by Frankie Corio, who is also, like the director herself, a debutant.

What was so special about that film was it explored not only the father-daughter dynamic but also Calum’s inner dilemmas as a whole. You can sense there’s something not right about him. He is going through some difficulties, and in an ambiguous yet powerful sequence, we see Calum trying to light a cigarette, having difficulty because of a cast in his hand, and after he is successful, he moves rhythmically, while his daughter isn’t aware of all these, as she is fast asleep. What’s he on about? He is struggling with anxiety and grief, as showcased in many scenes in the movie, and might also have suicidal tendencies. The film traverses through all of this with subtlety, and the movie’s exploration of its characters works in its favor and makes it stand out.

While watching Aftersun, I was enthusiastic to learn more about the director’s other works. So, I began with her first two short films, “Tuesday” (2015) and “Laps” (2017). While “Laps” was impactful in its five minutes runtime, “Tuesday” was an 11 minutes movie which was also Wells’ first directorial effort. After watching Aftersun, watching “Tuesday” felt like watching the idea of “Aftersun” in an embryo form. The film puts the same sensibility in its character. It has the same undertone of grief hovering around it, except this time, while also being a young father-daughter story, we see the life of Allie. The central character is played by Megan McGill, a 16-year-old, on a Tuesday, which she says is the day she will spend her evening at her Dad’s. Allie is more of an introverted, not-easy-to-get-by-with person. She deliberately tries to avoid conversations, which leads to some awkward situations in the short film.

The short leaves many things ambiguous, especially a mystery ending, making the audience explore and discover along the way. Allie spends every Tuesday at her Dad’s, but this time it is different. There’s definitely something lost about her, as she is trying hard to accept something which she knows she should but cannot. Allie feels distant in what she does, except when she holds a black sweater close, making her remember someone.

The mood of the film is set by the color grading, which is cold and calculated. Yet, it never remains intrusive but only intimate. Megan McGill is exceptional in a short role that gives her little to say, but she conveys her emotions in her movements. The film is like a prologue of “Aftersun”, and Allie can be an adult Sophie, who is trying to connect with her father, except this time, the father is significantly absent, and while Calum was present much of the time with Sophie in “Aftersun”, in his mind, he was elsewhere, hiding his grief and depression beneath the facade of a happy face.

The film never explored what happened to Calum, leaving it ambiguous for audiences, and in “Tuesday”, we never know what happened to Allie’s father, who is visibly absent in the film, and parental absence is a recurring theme in both the movies. “Tuesday” never says too much, but it’s a profound examination of absence and sadness and a suitable forerunner to “Aftersun.” Charlotte Wells’ debut demonstrates that she is an intimate and flawless storyteller who can say so much in so little. She will, indeed, be a future force to be reckoned with.

Also, Read: Aftersun (2022) Movie Explained: Ending & Themes Analysed

Tuesday (2015) Links: IMDb
Tuesday (2022) Cast: Megan McGill, Anita Vettesse, David Leith
Where to watch Tuesday

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