Movie Reviews

This Devastating Movie With A 96% RT Score Is Now On Netflix & It's A Must Watch Before Gladiator 2


  • Aftersun is a must-watch on Netflix, with a captivating coming-of-age story and stellar performances earning high praise from critics.
  • Paul Mescal’s powerful portrayal of a troubled father in Aftersun earned him an Oscar nomination, solidifying his status as a rising star.
  • Don’t miss Aftersun before Gladiator 2 – Mescal’s performance will leave you in awe and make for a perfect movie pairing.

Aftersun, the 2022 movie with a fantastic 96% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, has made its way to Netflix and it’s the perfect movie to watch before Gladiator 2 hits theaters. The original Gladiator is a classic in every sense of the word. Ridley Scott has had some hits and misses in his career, but Gladiator is undoubtedly one of his biggest and most universally acclaimed. With that in mind, it was crucial that the sequel cast the right person in the lead since Russell Crowe can not reprise his own.

Luckily, Gladiator 2 made an excellent choice in Paul Mescal as the lead. While the whole Gladiator 2 cast is excellent, it’s Mescal who will carry the movie. The actor was announced to have landed the lead role in January 2023; he’ll be playing Lucius, the son of Connie Nielsen’s Lucilla and nephew of Joaquin Phoenix’s Commodus. Lucius, of course, was just a young boy in the original 2000 movie. Even so, Mescal will have some large shoes to fill to give as commanding a memorable a performance as Crowe. One particular movie in his filmography shows he has the range and talent to do it.

The 2022 Movie Aftersun Is Now Streaming On Netflix

It Garnered Plenty Of Praise On Its Release

Aftersun, Scottish director Charlotte Wells’ feature debut, has been released on Netflix. Those who never got a chance to catch it in theaters can watch it now, and they should. The coming-of-age story weaves a mesmerizing narrative through the past and present. Now an adult, a woman named Sophie looks back through recorded footage of the trip she took to a Turkish resort when she was 11 with her then-30-year-old dad, on the cusp of turning 31. The movie makes clear their relationship is a troubled one and that he’s no longer in her life. It’s not clear until the ending of Aftersun, however – and even after – what happened.

Aftersun received plenty of praise from critics and on the film festival circuit. It won a jury prize at Cannes in 2022 and later did the full round of all the major festivals, including Edinburgh, Telluride, TIFF, and others. Upon its release, it got the aforementioned 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 95 out of 100 on Metacritic. The National Board of Review included Aftersun on its list of best films of the year for that year. In particular, the performances of Frankie Corio and Paul Mescal as Aftersun‘s young daughter and father Sophie and Calum were singled out, earning praise for their layered performances full of depth.

Paul Mescal Received An Oscar Nomination For Best Actor For Aftersun

It Was The Role That Put Him On The Map As A Serious Awards Contender

Paul Mescal’s performance as the troubled father Calum was praised for the emotional power he put into a role that was so restrained. As Calum, Mescal infuses his performance with the torn dynamic of a father trying to put on a happy face for his daughter, and a man who is drowning under the weight of his own depression. For Calum, the sunny, idyllic days at the Turkish resort only contrast his emotional torment and the wreckage of the interior landscape he allows to peek through whenever he’s alone at night.

As Calum, Mescal infuses his performance with the torn dynamic of a father trying to put on a happy face for his daughter, and a man who is drowning under the weight of his own depression.

For his efforts, Mescal was nominated for Best Actor at the 2023 Oscars and for the same category at the BAFTAs. While he lost to Brendan Fraser for The Whale, it was the performance that put Mescal on the map as one of the most talented young prodigies in Hollywood. Mescal had already broken out in the limited series Normal People, and his natural ease in front of the camera made him an instant up-and-comer to watch. Aftersun, however, immediately marked him as a formidable talent and one of the most sought-after in the business.

Paul Mescal’s Aftersun Performance Is Perfect To Watch Before Gladiator 2

His Combination Of Raw Emotion And Restraint Is Perfect

Calum standing in a brightly lit hallway at the end of Aftersun

It’s the power of Mescal’s performance that makes Aftersun the perfect movie to watch before heading to theaters to see Gladiator 2. While all of Paul Mescal’s performances have been excellent – in his short career, he’s thus far not had a single miss – it’s Aftersun to watch if one wants to get the fullest idea of his range. His layered ability to convey so much suppressed pain while hiding it from his daughter is nothing short of astonishing; he’s acting one story to the audience while acting another to Frankie Corio’s Sophie. While Gladiator 2 will be a wholly different movie, Aftersun shows Paul Mescal is more than up to the challenge.

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