The After Review – An emotional and impactful short

By Romey Norton
Published: October 25, 2023
British short film The After, streaming on Netflix
The After (2023/Netflix) Image via Neon Films


A touching short film about understanding and living with grief. Predictable but no less impactful.

Short films are a beautiful art, and they rarely ever get the attention they deserve. With the average runtime for films becoming almost three hours, it’s refreshing to see Netflix releasing the short The After, with a runtime of just eighteen minutes. Anyone can spare so few minutes, and we implore you to in this case.

The After is a British short film directed and co-written by Misan Harriman, starring David Oyelowo as the lead role of Dayo. In this intense short film, Dayo is a grieving rideshare driver who picks up a passenger who helps him confront the past. It’s simple, it’s predictable, but it’s still emotionally charged and effective.

The After review and plot summary

This short film covers a topic we can all empathize and sympathize with — grief. It dabbles in the realms of suicide which is a nod to the growing rate of suicides among people, especially men, but this is ambiguous and something you can determine for yourself when you watch. This short but intense section of the film will make you think about the people in your life, how they could be suffering, and their reactions to grief and loss. 

The fact Dayo is a taxi driver, in one of the busiest cities in the world, shows the irony that someone who sees so many people per day can be so lonely. There’s some comedic relief in the many random conversations a taxi driver can hear in the back of their cab. 

This broken man is surviving, getting through day by day, and not really living. Anyone who’s suffered from grief, depression, anxiety, or chronic pain, can understand this. The short does well to portray the feelings of utter sadness and almost indifference to life. There’s one section where he breaks down crying in the middle of the street and just accepts this. This is truly sad to watch. This scene is a cathartic release, especially for people who have been brought up to hold things in, allowing audiences to see that crying and breaking down is okay. 

The cinematography is tight, with some beautifully lit shots of Dayo in a lonely London, and the scenes in the taxi are well done, not crappy CGI green screen. 

Is The After Worth Watching?

Short films have the pleasure of making an impactful message in under twenty minutes — sometimes under ten.

The biggest criticism is there isn’t a strong character arc. It builds but then the ending is abrupt; it’s easy to feel as if one hasn’t seen a complete story. It’s a sweet ending, but after the hard-hitting deaths, and a scene of him breaking down, a stronger ending was needed to convey a message of hope and moving on.

Still, this short film packs a punch to the gut, and whilst it’s sad to watch, it’s also a small reminder that you can overcome your grief and sadness with small steps, and those steps are worth taking.

What did you think of The After? Comment below.

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