Directed by Misan Harriman, Netflix’s short film, The After is a gut-wrenching tale about a man who is in pain and who can’t seem to get over a tragic event that happened in his life in the past. The Netflix short film reminds us how fragile life is and how we shouldn’t take any aspect of it for granted. I believe taking things for granted is the biggest vice of human beings; where we become accustomed to everything very quickly, and especially when it comes to the existence of certain people in our lives, we just forget how privileged we are to spend time with them. It is only after they depart that we come to the realization that we are all mortals and the time we have on our hands is very short. We all have problems; we all have work to do; we all are dealing with our own issues, facing our own demons, and struggling to cope with life, but in the process, we stop appreciating what we have. We start taking everything for granted because, as soon as we get what we desire, it is in our genes to want something more. So, let’s find out what happened with our protagonist, what kind of tragedy occurred with him, and why he was not able to confront his past.
What Happened With Dayo?
Dayo was a busy man, and we saw him taking work calls, even during his break when he had come to spend some time with his daughter. His daughter, Laura, had a performance at her school that very day, but Dayo, as usual, didn’t have time to attend it. His wife had requested that he take out some time for Laura, as she really wanted her father to be there when she went on stage. Dayo’s wife didn’t have any hope that he would be able to make it, but still, she asked him, hoping that some miracle would happen and he would be able to postpone his meetings for a couple of hours. Dayo had almost decided not to attend the performance when a bicycle almost hit Laura, and for a moment, Dayo’s heartbeat got fast. He stood as if he was in some deep thought, and that’s when something snapped inside him, and he decided to attend his daughter’s performance. He called James, his colleague, and told him to postpone everything as he was not going to be back soon. Dayo, at that moment, had realized that it was a close shave and that the bicycle could have actually hit Laura. He was reminded of how much he treasured her little daughter and how, because of work, he had not been able to spend any time with her.
People these days talk about work-life balance, and Dayo, at some point in time, would have thought about it, but we think that this conversation should have never existed in the first place. We work to live, not the other way around. I agree that work gives purpose to a lot of people, but in today’s world, we fail to recognize that our lives consist of many other things that are probably more important than the work we do. Often, we fail to recognize the importance of family and friends and no matter how much we progress in life and how much we ace at work, if we do not have anyone to share that happiness with, then all the success and all the victories will amount to nothing. Dayo had probably understood that, and that’s when he decided to prioritize his family over his work life. He met his wife, who was surprised to know that he was going to come with her. Dayo got a call from James when, out of nowhere, a psychopath arrived with a blood-stained knife, and he stood in front of Laura and her mother. Dayo was on a call when he saw the killer approaching towards his wife and child. He shouted at the top of his lungs for him to stop. But the killer didn’t stop, and he stabbed Laura and pushed her down from the bridge. Dayo’s wife, in a state of shock, also jumped from there, and Dayo stood there, seeing his entire life shatter in front of his own eyes.
Was Dayo Able To Confront His Past?
A grief-stricken Dayo constantly ran from facing his past, but the pain never went away, and in fact, it kept getting worse with every passing day. He started driving a cab, and often, he heard the conversations his passengers had. He empathized with a few, and to some, he just wanted to tell that time was not unlimited and they should express their love or do whatever they wanted to now. At times, he saw people having the same ideologies as he did in the past, and every time, he realized how foolish he was to think like that. One time, a couple hired the cab, who had a daughter who reminded Dayo of his little girl, Laura. The couple argued throughout the journey while the little kid was sitting in between, traumatized.
Dayo wanted to hug the little girl and tell her that it wasn’t her fault that her parents were behaving in this manner, but obviously, he couldn’t. When the couple reached their destination, they went to the door of their house and once again started fighting. Their daughter, Amy, did not come down from the cab for the longest time. It felt like she didn’t want to go to her parents, as she didn’t like it when they fought. Amy finally stepped out of the car, and she was leaving when something snapped inside her. She turned and hugged Dayo unexpectedly, and even her parents were shocked at what she was doing. That hug, that warmth, and that assurance were all that Dayo needed, and after that, the floodgates of his inner core opened and tears rolled from his eyes.
During The After‘s ending, the man completely broke down, probably for the first time, he cried his heart out. He embraced reality, stopped running from his past, and realized that he would have to eventually move on and live his life because that is what his wife and daughter would have wanted. But we do know that it is easier said than done, and Dayo would still feel that void probably throughout his life. We hope that Dayo gets the courage to face his reality and somehow manages to find happiness and some purpose in life.