10 Movies like Aftersun you must watch

By Louie Fecou
Published: January 22, 2023 (Last updated: February 8, 2024)

We discuss 10 movies like Aftersun you must watch. Keep this list handy and add these recommendations to your watch list.

With its theatrical release and performances at various film events, Aftersun was a quiet oasis of a film that would hypnotize its audience with its quiet dignity and low-key presentation. Critically acclaimed, the film has found a new audience on the streaming platform Mubi, and this low-budget slice of life is captivating film lovers everywhere.

For some, this may be a first look at a more introspective way of filmmaking, so with that in mind, we thought a list of 10 movies like Aftersun might help you seek out a similar fare. For this list, we have focused on screenplays that pivot on the father-daughter dynamic.

10 Movies like Aftersun you must watch

Gifted (2017)

Starring Chris Evans and McKenna Grace, this is another film that focuses on the relationship between father and daughter. Although the premise is very different from Aftersun, the main thread, as in many of the movies on this list, is the dynamic between the leads. Here screenwriter Tom Flynn presents a heartfelt observation of the way parents have to deal with gifted children, making this a sensitive examination of an overlooked family situation.

Southpaw (2015)

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal as the boxer Billy Hope, who loses everything through his destructive tendencies, this emotional film shares a theme with Aftersun. On the road to redemption, Billy’s daughter Leila is a major factor in his life, and her depiction in this film is well-realized and realistic. Although more emotionally open, Leila, played perfectly by Oona Laurence, plays well with Gyllenhaal making his character more three-dimensional.

Trouble With the Curve (2012) 

Once again, the premise here could not be further from Aftersun, but at the heart is a story between father and daughter that puts this film on our list. Starring Clint Eastwood and Amy Adams, we follow the story of Gus, a baseball scout on what is possibly his last trip, frustrated by his own failing abilities and the use of computer technology in his position. He is being aided by his daughter Mickey, as they try to reconcile their dysfunctional relationship and come to terms with the future that lies ahead. Unlike Aftersun, this is a more cliched and charming, almost traditional film, but at its heart is still a touching relationship.

I Am Sam (2001)

This dramatic and emotional story follows Sean Penn as Sam Dawson, a mentally handicapped man that is in a custodial battle for his young daughter. Powerful performances from the cast, including Michelle Pfeifer as the lawyer who re-evaluates her life in the wake of the case, make this an emotional study of love and family. Often not an easy watch, this will strike a chord with many who watch it, and although a different dynamic from Aftersun, this is still a thought-provoking entry on our list.

The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005)

Just like Aftersun, we find ourselves on an island in the sun here, with Daniel Day-Lewis and Catherine Keener in Rebecca Miller’s little-known film. The story follows a father and daughter living in what is essentially an abandoned commune with his daughter Rose, played by Camille Belle. The controversial nature of the story perhaps played a part in why this film is very rarely mentioned, The uncomfortable nature of the father and daughter relationship could not be further from Aftersun, and the hidden text of the film was too much for the studio, and audiences, so tread carefully if checking this one out.

Rat Catcher (1999)

The debut feature from Lynne Ramsey feels tonally like a pre-curser to Aftersun, Set in Glasgow in the early 1970s, this is a gritty slice of life coming of age story, that follows young James as he encounters all kinds of situations in his daily life. More like a spiritual ancestor to Aftersun, due to its pacing and slow burn, this feels inspirationally connected with Charlotte Welles’ film. Released with English subtitles, due to the broad use of Scottish dialect, this may not be for everyone, but if Aftersun and its overall tone enthralled you then this should be given a watch.

Interstellar (2014)

Although often referred to as a sci-fi movie, at the heart of the screenplay is the story of a father and daughter. Despite what the screenplay is wrapped in, it is hard not to see that the story revolves around the promise of a father to his daughter. Thematically deep, the film can be looked at through various lenses, and although literally a million miles away from Aftersun, it does have things in common with our featured film of this list.

Hearts Beat Loud (2018)

Written and directed by Brett Haley, this hip but warm film finds single dad Frank making preparations to send his daughter Sam off to college while facing more heartbreak with the realization that his vintage record shop has to close. However, when Frank releases footage of the pair making music online, they go viral, and Frank sees a way to keep the status quo he loves. Sam, though, has set her heart on going to college to study medicine and is torn by the plans her father makes. Although the main focus is on the father-daughter relationship, this is much more of a feel-good film than Aftersun, but if you are in the mood for this kind of thing, check it out.

Leave No Trace (2018)

A father suffering from PTSD and his thirteen-year-old daughter are living off the grid in a huge park in Oregon. However things take a turn for the worse when local authorities are made aware of the pair, and their lives are changed forever. Like Aftersun, the father-daughter dynamic here is quiet and filled with mutual understanding. The relationship between the two is at the core of this film, and like Aftersun, it has an indie feel, that adds to the presentation. Director Debra Granik shows beautiful restraint and allows the characters to breathe, much like Aftersun, and the slow-burning drama leaves you wanting more when the credits run.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)

Basically a coming-of-age story set in the early 1900s, this classic tale that centers on the father-daughter relationship shows that films of this nature have been a target for filmmakers for decades. James Dunn plays the rather reckless dad of Francie, but it is easy to see she loves and respects him very much. As the family struggles to survive, young Francie shows intellectual promise, but they do not have the financial ability to fulfill her education, but that is not going to stop them from trying. Based on the novel of the same name, this is another great father-daughter story that you could do worse than check out.

Do you have any other recommendations for movies like Aftersun? Let us know!

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