Harry Styles fans call out fanfic film ‘After’ for portraying him as "abusive"

23 November 2018, 18:57 | Updated: 23 November 2018, 19:01

By Sam Prance

The film based on Anna Todd fan fiction is already being slammed for how it represents Harry...

Harry Styles is known for many things. As well as being one of the key members of One Direction, the 24 year old singer has also established a career for himself as a solo star in his own right. 'Sign of the Times' was a UK Number 1 last year and his self-titled debut topped charts around the world. He also received rave reviews for his first acting role as Alex in the hit film Dunkirk. He's a pretty big deal.

Josephine Langford cast in the movie adaptation of Harry Styles inspired fanfic 'After'

In fact, Harry is so famous that he has inspired a lot of fan fiction. And now some of it has been adapted into a new movie. In 2013, Anna Todd wrote a series of books on Wattpad called After, which are loosely based on One Direction. The books had over one billion views so it's no surprise that they've been made into a feature film. However, the After trailer dropped earlier this week and fans are conflicted.

Why do fans think 'After' is problematic?

Harry Styles inspired Anna Todd's fanfic series 'After'
Harry Styles inspired Anna Todd's fanfic series 'After'. Picture: Stefania D'Alessandro/Getty Images // Aviron Pictures

In the books, 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". Harry is Harry Styles. In the film he is named Hardin Scott but there is no doubt that fans will associate Hardin with Harry.

And this is where the problem lies. Fans have no issue with the casting (Katherine Langford's sister Josephine is playing the part of Tessa and Ralph Fiennes nephew Hero Fiennes Tiffin stars as Hardin) but they are worried about the film because it "portrays Harry Styles as an abusive boyfriend and romanticises his actions". The film could feed into giving Harry a false reputation.

Here are just a few of the 'After' complaints.

It's understandable that fans are concerned by the movie. The books contain quotes like "He removes one of his hands from my wrists but his other hand is large enough to hold both. For a second I think he may slap me." Instead of highlighting how problematic this sort of behaviour is, it paints Harry as a loveable bad boy. Of course it's fiction but abuse isn't entertaining.

And, while the film could stray away from these tropes, the trailer suggests that it will play into them. Hardin's friend Landon tells Tessa to "be careful" of Hardin because he's "dangerous". It essentially looks like a teenage version of Fifty Shades of Grey which has also been called out for its questionable themes. What sort of behaviour will After encourage?

As it stands, Harry is yet to comment on the film or series. We shall update you if he does.

What do you think? Are you excited about After or will you be boycotting it?