The new historical WWII romance The Aftermath seems to be factoring the losing German side feeling into the equation.
Kiera Knightley falls in love with Alexander Skarsgard the aristocratic German capitalist whose family mansion has been seized for the personal use of a British commander (Jason Clarke) sent in to rebuild the British sector of the bombed out city of Hamburg. The Germans live in the attic and the Brits live below, a situation which all but guarantees that an illicit romance will happen.
The taboos about sleeping with the enemy are slowly broken as the sympathies of the lovers are melted together, personal tragedies confronted and the difficult process of moving from war to peace is undertaken.
The Aftermath only aspires for slightly risqué and minor norm breaking. This is not a romance between a harden Nazi and a lonely British officer’s wife, the subplot handles that, but between a good German and a woman feeling distant from her dutiful, honorable, decent husband.
There are no villains among the triangle players. The Nazis that do pop up are treated like Isis rejects— something to be pitied, scorned, and when the plot requires, blow themselves up.
Knightly, Skarsgard and Clarke easily engage audience sympathy and have chemistry between them. All this makes Knightly decision at the end both painful and emotionally real.
All photos courtesy of Fox Searchlight.