It is not easy to fight your demons. It is not easy to face the harsh realities of life. It is not easy to keep walking when you feel that the world has kept all the burden on your shoulders. Everybody has regrets, but helplessness arises when you realize that you cannot do anything about it. Being in a constant state of conflict with your own vulnerabilities and insecurities is hard but coming to terms with the fact that the battle scars will never heal is harder. Directed by Castille Landon, “After Ever Happy” is the fourth film of the “After” franchise and is based on the novels written by Anna Todd. In the previous installment, titled “After We Fell,” we saw that Hardin got to know that Christian Vance was his biological father. He unintentionally went to a room where he found his mother and Christian sharing an intimate moment. He thought that it was merely a moment where both of them gave in to their carnal desires, but he realized that there was more to it. For 21 years, Hardin had thought that Ken Scott was his father. The revelation made him numb. He couldn’t process anything. Life had been unfair to Hardin, but now it seemed like the nightmares were never going to end. He went and confronted his mother and told her that somewhere he was bearing the consequences of the choices she had made in her life. So, let’s see what “After Ever Happy” has in store for us and how this unforeseen revelation impacts the lives of Hardin and Tessa.
Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
Hardin was devastated to know the truth. He didn’t know what to do next. He didn’t know whether he should validate the actions of his mother or get angry with her. He realized that there was no way to solve this conflict. He knew that he would have to accept things as they were. He could get angry with the world for being so unfair, but that wouldn’t change the past. Christian Vance was his father, and he had to accept that fact sooner or later. Tessa, too, didn’t know how to fix Hardin. She didn’t know what to tell him that would make him feel at peace. She told him that she loved him and that she would always be standing next to him no matter what, but that wasn’t enough to pacify him. Tessa tells Kimberly (wife of Christian Vance) that she is feeling lost. She didn’t know where her relationship was leading to. She loved Hardin, but time and again she felt that it would never work with him. It was true that whenever they had a fight, Hardin always came back and tried to mend their relationship. But it was just a matter of time when, once again, the pattern repeated itself. Tessa was tired of fighting the odds. She wanted some peace in her life. She decided that she would go and try talking to Hardin. She decided to give her relationship one last chance. Hardin had gone to Mark’s house. He wanted to drown himself in alcohol and forget everything that had happened. Tessa found where he was and went to bring him back. She found him with a girl at the party. She knew that Hardin didn’t want to face the situation. She urged him to face his demons and not go into hiding like a coward. They had an argument, and Tessa left the premises. She had made up her mind that things wouldn’t work between them and that there was no point in unnecessarily trying to avoid the inevitable.
Tessa goes back to Washington State alone. Everything reminded her of the beautiful time she spent there with Hardin. Landon, Hardin’s stepbrother, was always there to support her. Tessa was still coping with her separation when she found out that her father’s drug addiction led him to his fateful end. She found him lying on the floor with a syringe in his hand. Landon told Hardin about the demise of Tessa’s father. Landon knew that only Hardin could help Tessa. Hardin came back to the States. He made all the arrangements for the funeral and tried to be emotionally available to the girl whom he loved with all his heart. It felt that maybe this time, things would get back on track. But Tessa had made up her mind that she wanted some time off. She wanted to be by herself and understand what she wanted from life. She tells Hardin that she has already planned to move to New York, and she wanted to stay there with Landon for a while. Landon, being the good friend that he was, supported her decision. Hardin was mad at Landon for not informing him about Tessa’s decision. Hardin screams in frustration. Life itself had become a burden, and a troubled Hardin just wanted to escape from the worst nightmare of his life.
‘After Ever Happy’ Ending Explained: Do Tessa And Hardin End Up Together? What Happened In New York?
Tessa started her new life. She started working two jobs in order to divert her attention from the developments that had transpired in the past. Hardin, too, started walking on the road to redemption. He wanted to make his life better. He wanted to become the kind of man with whom Tessa would happily spend her life. He went to a rehabilitation center to get rid of his problem of alcoholism. Something extraordinary happened during those rehab sessions. He read extracts from his personal diary. There were a lot of personal details in there, and he read everything. People are amused by the story. They urged him to get it published. Hardin had never written it with the intention of getting it published, but the kind of response he got from the others gave him a sense of purpose. He knew that maybe he could bring his life back on track through it. He didn’t tell Tessa about it, though. He got an offer from a publisher in New York. He called Landon and told him that he would be coming to New York. He didn’t reveal the purpose of his visit. He was not trying to hide anything, but he just wanted to tell Tessa at the right time.
Tessa was skeptical about meeting Hardin, but once she did, hope was rekindled. She saw that he had left alcohol for good and that he was a changed man. She could feel the transformation. She started entertaining the thought of living her life with him. Things were looking positive when Tessa stumbled upon a manuscript. It was the rough draft of the novel that Hardin had been writing. Tessa read the whole thing and confronted Hardin. She was angry with him because it was her life story too, that he was planning on telling the whole world. Hardin had always been very secretive about whatever he wrote in his journal. He even didn’t tell Tessa about it, and now he was getting it published. Hardin always wanted it to be a story of forgiveness and unconditional love, but Tessa didn’t see it that way. She felt violated. She decided that it was about time she left Hardin for good. They both go their separate ways. The novel got printed, and it got great reviews from critics. They called the story heartbreaking and applauded the writer, Hardin Scott. At the end of “After Ever Happy,” we see that Tessa ditched her date and went to see Hardin in a book reading session. She didn’t meet him but only stood there staring at him. She left the place without getting noticed. Hardin never saw her, but he felt her presence. He felt her warmth. They both still craved each other, but they couldn’t do anything about it.
“After Ever Happy” ends, but the story of Tessa and Hardin still isn’t over. The makers have already announced a fifth installment of the franchise (titled “After Everything”). Maybe in the upcoming film, Tessa and Hardin will be able to decipher what they actually wanted from life and whether it was possible for them to lead their lives without each other or was it a better idea to stick together through thick and thin.
“After Ever Happy” is a 2022 Drama Romance film directed by Castille Landon.