Aftersun is a movie about a father struggling with his own depression as he tries to give his daughter one last happy vacation. It’s also about a daughter looking back at her time with her father, wondering if there were any signs and reminiscing about the final vacation they spent together. If you’re still left wondering what Aftersun was about, you can check out this write-up to figure out what happens to Calum at the end and what the nightclub scenes were.
If you’re ready for more saddening movies about parental relationships that make you reflect on your own parents or kids, then here are 8 movies like Aftersun that you’re going to want to see.
The Pursuit of Happyness
Despite Will Smith’s recent actions, The Pursuit of Happyness is still a great feel-good movie about a father who will do whatever it takes to keep his son and provide for him. There are definitely some tearjerk moments in store if you haven’t seen this one yet. It’s not quite as emotional or provoking as Aftersun, but you’ll still enjoy it. It’s also based on a true story, which can make it even more touching.
This one isn’t as clear-cut as the others on this list, but at its heart, Interstellar is about a father trying to get back to his daughter and keep the promise he made to her. If you haven’t seen it yet, give it a shot. It’s easily one of the best science-fiction films to come out this century, and it has some truly emotional moments between Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and his daughter Murph (Jessica Chastain). It also happens to be one of Christopher Nolan’s best films of his career.
Manchester By The Sea
Not a father and daughter, but an uncle and nephew, Manchester By The Sea stars Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler, a man with a troubled past that is suddenly thrown into being the guardian of his nephew, Patrick (Lucas Hedges), after his father dies. Lee doesn’t want to take on the responsibility due to the dark history he left behind in Manchester, where Patrick is. The film deals with depression and coming to terms with what you can and can’t accept.
Good Will Hunting
Unlike the other entries on this list, there are no parents in Good Will Hunting. Matt Damon plays Will Hunting, a brilliant young man who got chewed up by the foster system and spit back out. Will is a janitor at a university where he meets a professor after solving an equation that took him years to crack. After getting into a brawl, Will is forced to see a therapist (Robin Williams) who gives him the attention and perspective he needs in life. Math isn’t a central part of this movie, but it’s definitely one that doesn’t make math boring.
Everything Everywhere All At Once
If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you definitely should. It’s easily one of the best movies to come out of 2022 and won a ton of awards. It’s also an A24 film, which should be no surprise given their recent track record of releasing great films.
Everything Everywhere All At Once is a wacky film thanks to the fact that it deals with different universes and randomness, but at its heart is a story about a strained relationship between a mother and daughter—along with absurdism, nihilism, and existentialism. It’s a film that’s almost too hard to explain without spoiling too much, so it’s better if you just go and give it a shot. It features a stellar cast that won’t leave you disappointed.
We Need To Talk About Kevin
More of a dark and depressing tale about a mother’s relationship with her child, We Need To Talk About Kevin will spark discussions about the effect of a parent’s nurture vs. the nature of their child. Is Kevin just evil from birth? Was it because of his early relationship with his mother? We Need To Talk About Kevin can sometimes make you second guess wanting to have a child.
After Eva (Tilda Swinton) gives up her life as a travel journalist to settle down and have a child, she soon realizes that her body doesn’t agree with pregnancy. To make matters worse, she fails to bond with her son after giving birth. The toddler that likes to cause trouble eventually grows up into a sociopathic teen, played by Ezra Miller (yikes).
Minari is another film produced by A24 and deals with family relationships, specifically a relationship between a grandson and grandmother. There’s also some focus on the mother and father, but viewers of Aftersun might enjoy focusing on the grandson and grandmother more.
The film is set in the 1980s and follows a Korean immigrant family as they move from California to rural Arkansas to become farmers. The father believes he can grow Korean produce to sell in Dallas, but the rest of the family wishes to move back to Cali. After bringing the wife’s mother, Soon-ja, over from South Korea to help watch the kids, a relationship between the chronically ill son David and her begins to grow.
Boyhood is an excellent coming-of-age drama like Aftersun that looks at a young boy’s troubled relationship with his divorced parents as he grows up. 6-year-old Mason (Ellar Coltrane) lives with his divorced mother (Patricia Arquette) and his older sister (Lorelei Linklater). The film takes place over the course of 12 years, ending when Mason is around 17-18 and finishing high school. It looks at how his relationship changes with his single mother and his distant father that visits him throughout his life.