Mexico’s official entry for the 85th Academy Awards. After Lucia is a shocking portrait following one teenage girl’s struggle with bullying. Unsettling doesn’t do the film justice because whether you are a parent or anyone above the age of accountability this film will bother you because not only what happens to this girl but how she does nothing to stand up for herself. After Lucia isn’t the only film gaining attention this year on the topic of bullying, the documentary Bully (also vying for awards attention) has made national news for its spotlight on the subject that seems to be taking over schools around the world.
Alejandra (Tessa la) and her father Roberto (Hernan Mendoza) have left Puerto Vuellarta to start a new life in a smaller town after the tragic death of her mother Lucia. Roberto can’t get past his grief or focus in the new restaurant he is trying to open. Ale quickly makes new friends at school and has sex with one of the popular boys, Jose, who films their encounter and puts the video online. Things begin to spiral from there as the group of friends humiliate and torture her. Ale lets them do this because she is so broken inside from losing her mother, the changes in her life and how alone she has become.
It’s hard for me to understand how even a 17-year-old girl would allow this type of bullying and behavior occur. For many After Lucia will seem unrealistic because never does Lucia ask for help or try to prevent the attacks, she continues to associate with the same group who physically harass her. For Tessa la’s part she gives an impressive but heartbreaking performance but I feel many will feel more anger than sympathy towards her.
Written and directed by Michel Franco, After Lucia isn’t the highest quality film nor is it the most cinematic. There are many sound issues and Franco uses a very low quality camera to give the film a very rigid and handheld look. The third act of the film is the most shocking, while at no point does the audience get an indication at where this script is going, it finds itself in a point of no return. If anything After Lucia will be a film that no one will easily forget.
Final Thought – Tackles frightening subject matter.
By: Dustin Chase