This movie, based on a book series, is due out in April 2019.


by Stacey Dittman, M.A. | Feb 26, 2019 | Digital Citizenship, It’s a Public Health Crisis!, Proactive Parenting Tips

Movie Alert! Is After the New 50 Shades of Grey for Kids?

Have you heard about the new movie coming out this April called After?

It’s yet another toxic relationship series that is barrelling straight for your kids on the big screen this spring.

So, what’s the problem with After?

The movie is based on a book with this plot synopsis: “Tessa Young is an 18-year-old college student with a simple life, excellent grades, and a sweet boyfriend. She always has things planned out ahead of time, until she meets a rude boy named Harry, with too many tattoos and piercings, who shatters her plans.”

That’s the mild version.

The author’s own warning on her Wattpad page should alarm parents with tweens or teenagers:

“This series contains mature content, including explicit and suggestive language, sexual themes, drug use, addiction, and overall mature themes throughout the entire series … Before you read – again, this story is not your typical romance and is suited for readers who prefer darker themes in fiction.”


I read through half of the first book in the series on the Wattpad site. Here’s my scoop:

Both main characters – Tessa and Harry [changed to Hardin in the movie] – are on a roller coaster ride of lust, pride, deception, betrayal, and cheating. The focus of their relationship is sex and mind games – not love.

Some of the scenes are so explicit that they should be considered pornographic.

In the beginning, Tessa is mocked by her college friends for her chaste relationship with her high school boyfriend and her overall “prudishness.” She quickly sheds that image by making repeated foolish and dangerous choices that endanger her physical, mental, and emotional health.

Parents, if you have tween/teen girls, please don’t ignore this book/movie trend.

  • The first three books in the series have garnered over 5 billion readson Wattpad. This popular digital publishing platform allows first-time authors to share their work with readers online for free. After has since been published by Simon & Schuster.
  • The series is fan fiction based on Harry Styles, the musician who got started as a teen heartthrob in the boy band One Direction.
  • The author has been called “the biggest literary phenomenon of her generation” by Cosmopolitan. The series is getting viral-level traffic on YouTube, Twitter, and other social media.
  • The movie is set to be released on April 12, 2019.
  • The MPAA ratinghas not yet been officially released.

To young people who have read the books, the movie is a big deal. And to those who haven’t read the books, the movie may pique their interest.

Many people are concerned about the real message

Comments on the movie trailer on YouTube:

  • “From the looks of it this seems to be some teenage version of 50 Shades of Grey
  • “It’s a really good story if you like feeling mentally and emotionally drained every 3 – 4 chapters … the relationship is really, really toxic.”

Review of the book on Amazon:

  • “This book portrays nothing but a toxic and abusive relationship that the author will have you wanting to believe is love but is sick obsession.”

Unfortunately, judging by the comments online, many of the fans are younger teens.

Our strongest suggestion is to keep your kids away from this one.

Want more interesting, healthier role models? Try some classics like Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, or The Princess Bride.

Tips for parents:

  1. Talk to your tweens and teens about this movie. They willhear about it, as it has become a huge teen trend (even though it’s called a “young adult romance.”) Help your teen understand the different forms of abuse that can occur in a relationship and how they can know what a healthy relationship is. Face the lies head-on, and your teen will be better armed to recognize and reject the corruption that is being pushed through the media.
  2. Boys also need to learn about healthy relationshipsfrom us. They are unfairly stereotyped in movies like 50 Shades of Grey and After as brooding, angry, and “misunderstood”. These movies make it seem like abusing girls is attractive and manly. Let’s do better for our boys and get talking.
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