Breathy voices. Spine-tingling music. Plenty of sexual tension. If you thought you were done watching “good girls” get seduced by deeply troubled bad boys after Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades said their goodbyes earlier this year, think again. The familiar trope will get a teen-friendly treatment when the bondage baton is passed to After.
In the story, Tessa meets Hardin, then known as Harry Styles, "a rude boy...with too many tattoos and piercings who shatters her plans.” When Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, published After, the male lead character’s name was changed from Harry to Hardin, though Hardin still has those “H.S.” initials.
“My life before him was so simple,” Tessa says in the teaser trailer. There’s plenty of kissing and touching and chasing after each other in the rain, all with Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman” blaring in the background. In summary, it’s dramatic as hell – and a bit far fetched for teens. Like, what teen boy is emotionally mature enough to be this dodgy and complicated?
He’s the typical bad boy many of us lusted over at school and maybe at uni. He has tattoos and a certain kind of charm some women found alluring. But based on the film’s tagline, “After your first, life will never be the same,” After is going to take that whole virgins-becoming-emotional-stage-five-clingers myth to a whole other level. Gag.
It’s no surprise that the trailer is generating mixed reactions on Twitter. Some love it. Others are criticising it for its triggering and unhealthy portrayal of relationships. And then there are those who simply don’t want their beloved Harry Styles’ name mixed up with it.
“Y’all im [sic] fucking done that was the best fucking teaser trailer omg,” one user wrote, fighting back tears.
Another wrote, “So you are telling me that it's okay to let little girls think this is 'goals'? That they can be in a abusive and toxic relationship in order to make the boy 'change'?”
Meanwhile, a few Styles stans seem to think the singer’s reaction won’t be pleasant once the movie is released.
Love it or hate it, though – much like Fifty Shades – After is coming our way in 2019.