(Note: this was revised somewhat and I apologize for poor prose in the original) The Aftermath: Keira Knightley, the British actress who came to my awareness from her 2002 soccer film Bend It Like Beckham, never seems to age. After doing Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom and its sequels, she did a number of period pieces. She seems to enjoy getting dressed up in the corsets and poofy dresses, under a repressed society for females. Pride & Prejudice, The Duchess, Collette all clearly showed her abilities well when being transported back in time. I think she is a very good actress, and I enjoy her performances. I was interested to see The Aftermath, which is set immediately after WWII in Germany. Keira’s character Rachel is heading to Hamburg to meet up with her husband during the reconstruction. He is in charge of many soldiers as well as the clean up effort. Husband is played by the versatile Jason Clarke who always seems to play the honest, hardworking but less romantic partner who has his spouse have a wandering eye (think of All I See is You, with Blake Lively and her choices once she gets her eyesight back). In this case, the couple takes over a chateau with a husband (played by Alexander Skarsgard, who any woman who watches films and knows Tarzan or True Blood, will tell you emphatically is no Jason Clarke), and his daughter. Seems both Skargard and Knightley have both suffered losses during the war, and those stories become more well developed over time.
As an aside, relationships are difficult. There is a balancing, compromise and mutual understanding that takes places, especially over time. Today, people may think we are in a complicated time, and we are with no doubt, but think how it would be during war time. Everyday stresses are compounded by an ongoing fear of tomorrow of immediate death, either on the homefront from a bombing (in the case of Britain) or in the field by enemy fire. The stresses would be immense. Bullets and bombs are more immediate than a virus that could impact you and perhaps take your life (roughly 5% of the time). It is no wonder that people speak of the WWII generation as the “greatest”. Having gone through what they did, in some instances twice if they were old enough for two World Wars, they managed to keep it together. Some managed better than others, but it was an enormously difficult time.
Back to the film, Clarke and Knightley have a distance between them, and it is explored slowly with glimpses into the impact the event has had on them both. Over time grievances are voiced and things move on from there. More things happen. Knightley’s character has what I can best describe as being a Bridges of Madison County moment. Those who know the film, will understand what I am talking about should they see this. It leaves the viewer with the question on whether they would make the same choice. This was worth watching. Knightley herself is very watchable and her interaction with the other two. It is a small story in a vast War time. But it is relatable and worth some time on Crave where it can be found.