The fourth installment of the After series has dropped this month, continuing the love story of the characters Tessa and Hardin. This time around, the two characters go through major personality changes after discovering new secrets about their families.
Even though After Ever Happy is intended for mature audiences, the viewers can follow it up with some more teen-friendly watches that evoke similar genre tropes and melodramatic romance angles. In most of the cases, even such movies are novel adaptations, particularly young adult (YA) literature. So, if slogging through these books is a Herculean task, audiences can just sit back and binge on these streaming picks.
A Walk To Remember (2002)
Stream On Freevee
When it comes to the “opposites attract each other” formula in the romantic drama genre, A Walk To Remember remains to be a fan-favorite. Shane West stars as a rebellious bad boy while Mandy Moore is the soft-spoken girl. When the former is assigned community service, he must also join a spring play with the latter. In true YA fashion, the two eventually end up falling in love but with an unexpected finale.
An adaptation of the bestseller by Nicholas Sparks, A Walk To Remember led to more Nicholas Sparks romance films over the years. The traits of such stories can be found in Wattpad fiction stories (even Anna Todd’s After series started out on Wattpad), and the protagonists of After Ever Happy similarly reflect opposite personalities that eventually find common ground.
Along For The Ride (2022)
Stream On Netflix
The latest in the pantheon of Netflix teen romantic dramas, Along For The Ride revolves around two insomniacs. One is a girl anxious for college and eager to discover the outdoors, and the other is a free-spirited boy who heads out on his BMX every night. When the two come together, the loneliness and comfort of the night bring the duo closer than ever.
Apart from the central romance and the fact that it is based on a best-selling romance novel by Sarah Dessen, Netflix’s Along For The Ride is similar to movies like After Every Happy because of the parental struggles of the lead characters. In both cases, the protagonists come from troubled families, and their romantic relationship serves as a crucial escape from the problems at home.
Stuck In Love (2013)
Stream On Peacock
Stuck In Love covers three different relationships within the same family. Each case offers its own challenges, but the beauty of this romantic drama is that it dwells on not just the romantic angles but also on how an individual gets shaped by the family one belongs to.
The two siblings and a divorced father are far from perfect from being a normal family, but they still manage to stick around no matter how tragic their romantic pursuits might be. In After Ever Happy, the protagonists come from seemingly perfect families only to unearth darker secrets later on. This contrast and exploration of the family equation are what would draw the movie’s audiences towards Stuck In Love.
The Spectacular Now (2013)
Stream On HBO Max
One of the earliest A24 movies stars Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley as an unlikely pair who explore the ups and downs of a mature relationship at an immature age. Teller’s Sutter is a hot-headed alcoholic who wishes to know more about the father who left him at a young age, while Woodley’s Aimee is a studious introvert who just feels privileged enough to date a popular jock like Sutter.
What seems like a soapy rom-com on the surface turns into an intense romantic drama that subverts cinematic clichés and embraces gritty realism. So, if viewers need a more realistic approach to young love following After Ever Happy, The Spectacular Now will make for a good watch.
The Kissing Booth (2018)
Stream On Netflix
The infamous yet popular Netflix rom-com The Kissing Booth (and its two sequels) might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But for the aficionados of young adult romance novels on online reading/writing platforms like Wattpad, The Kissing Booth makes for an essential Gen-Z watch.
The story of a late-blooming teen’s romance with a high-school senior and her friendship with the senior’s younger brother, in fact, was born out of a Wattpad novel by Beth Reekles. With both the After and Kissing Booth series originating from Wattpad, they make for good companion watches (despite their thematic differences).
Fear Of Rain (2021)
Stream On Hulu
When a teenage girl with schizophrenia suspects her neighbor to have abducted a child, her whole world starts falling apart. A trustworthy friend helps her, but then again, the protagonist suspects if this friend is even real in the first place.
The psychological thriller Fear of Rain is far removed from the romantic and dramatic themes of After Ever Happy, but the two movies share a common director. For fans of the latter, interest is bound to be generated in the work of director Castille Landon (who also directed its predecessor After We Fell). Fear of Rain just goes on to show how versatile Landon can be while exploring other genres.
All The Bright Places (2020)
Stream On Netflix
One of the great romantic movies on Netflix, All The Bright Places contrastingly deals with particularly dark characters. Both Elle Fanning and Justice Smith’s characters are recovering from family-related trauma, and it is in each other’s company that they seek to find comfort.
This feeling of two people coming together to fight each other’s loneliness against all odds is what would connect with viewers of After Ever Happy. Plus, Fanning and Smith’s dynamic as the romantic couple carries the emotional undertone of this story, much like many other young adult adaptations.
The Half Of It (2020)
Stream On Netflix
Marketed as “a different kind of love story,” The Half Of It is one of those rom-coms that bear as much emphasis on friendship as romantic love. The story kicks off with an introverted girl and a goofy, jock of a boy, both of whom fall for the same girl. Desperate to make a move, the two unlikely friends enter an arrangement where the former would write letters but by using the latter’s name.
A strange yet adorable love triangle is created in the process, with the story bringing a fresh touch to exploring platonic friendships and same-sex love. So, if After Ever Happy viewers are in the mood for a not-so-formulaic romance, then The Half Of It can be a great option.
Before Midnight (2013)
Stream On Paramount Plus
The conclusion to Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy finds the two lead characters finally exploring the mature side of their relationship. They had earlier met by chance and then explored a “what if” scenario in the second movie. But now that Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy’s characters finally end up together, they must address the challenges of commitment and the endurance to stay with each other no matter what.
While the central relationship in Before Midnight is way more serious than the YA-like romance in After Ever Happy, the fear of the couple’s future is a relatable theme. And given how Before fans followed the character’s love for so long, the third part showcases the complications and realities of any requited relationship that happens so often with any couple.
Touched With Fire (2016)
Stream On VUDU
Two manically-depressed poets hit it off during the tough times of their lives. However, when the time comes to advance their relationship to another level, a lot of chaos ensues. Despite glamorizing melancholic poetry and Vincent van Gogh’s artworks, Touched With Fire is a depressing love story that explores a scenario that might not end on a “happily ever after” note.
The trials and tribulations faced by the characters of After Ever Happy are somewhat different, but the story similarly deals with two opposite personalities attracting each other and then struggling to stay together. The gray areas of love add a touch of emotional conflict to the usual romantic drama formula.