The years right after the end of World War II in Europe were tumultuous times. With millions of people displaced and cities left in smoking ruins, it was a very bleak period. After celebrations by the victors diminished, there was a harsh reality left behind.
Setting The Aftermath in this time frame colours the story to a degree but it under-utilises the emotional turmoil of the time to tell a somewhat conventional love story. It is set in the dead of winter and the stark white of the snow underlines the coldness between its main players.
Rachael Morgan (Keira Knightley) is reunited with her husband Lewis (Jason Clarke), a high commander and part of the occupational forces in Germany. Their relationship is one of dysfunction and distance. There was a family tragedy that permanently changed their lives and the distance between them is great.
When the handsome German, Stephen Lubert (Alexander Skarsgård) is forced to give his house over to the couple, the pieces are in place for a love triangle. Sadly the film does little with this premise. You get to see Knightley emote and transition from a cold person who lacks empathy to feeling again and Clarke gets to have his own personal journey but Skarsgård is given little to do. There are some moments of interest but few lasting ones.