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A movie based on a One Direction fanfiction is being criticised for how it portrays relationships

‘After’ is due out next year.

FIRST, THERE WAS Fifty Shades – the BDSM-laden series that was originally based on the illicit adventures of Edward and Bella in Twilight. (Fun fact for you!)

Now, there’s After, a movie adapted from a One Direction fanfiction with Harry Styles at the centre, written on Wattpad, no less.

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Can’t see the trailer? Click here.

Ok, so let’s start from the beginning. ‘After’ was written by Anna Todd: the then 24 year-old mother of one and One Direction fanfic super fan who wrote whenever she got a chance on her smartphone. She uploaded all of the chapters – all 295 of them – to a platform called Wattspad, a platform which is widely regarded as the ‘YouTube of ebooks’.

By the time she uploaded Chapter 90, ‘After’ had been viewed more than 1 million times. Representatives from Wattpad, which had never witnessed such a hit on the site, contacted Anna and offered to help connect her with publishers.

Since then, the series has published as four volumes by Simon & Schuster in a six-figure deal, earned a spot on the New York Times best-seller list, been read nearly 1.6 billion times on Wattpad, been translated into more than 35 languages, and has now been adapted into a feature film. (In both the print and film versions of ‘After’, Harry Styles has been renamed ‘Hardin Scott’.)

(Important side note: the guy who plays him, Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, played young Tom Riddle in the Harry Potter franchise.)

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Why are people mad, then?

‘After’ follows the story of a young woman named Tessa who meets Hardin – a bad boy with an irresistible British accent.

Though Tessa already has a boyfriend, her move into freshman college dorms sees her engage in new experiences and new feelings for Hardin. Much of the criticism centres around this particular relationship.

In the story, Hardin seems to push Tessa into engaging in certain sexual acts with him, as well as encouraging heavy drinking and drug taking. Some people reckon the story romanticises toxic and abusive relationships. Elsewhere, Harry Styles stans are taking issue with the movie being associated with him.

Others, however, reckon this is a “storm in a teacup scenario”, and people need to recognise ‘After’ as a work of fiction.

The movie’s due out in April next year – will you be heading along or giving it a skip?

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