Since his star turn in Normal People, we have yet to see Paul Mescal reach those acting heights, although he has been part of some impressive projects such as The Lost Daughter.
With his new film Aftersun, the debut feature from Charlotte Wells, it seems as though this will be another defining role for the Maynooth man.
Since its cinema release, the reviews have been spectacular, with a lot praise aimed towards the chemistry between Mescal and his co-star Frankie Corio, who plays Mescal's daughter in the film.
Mark Kermode of The Guardian writes, "Charlotte Wells’s debut feature is a stylistically daring, emotionally piercing and beautifully understated tale of love and loss."
Donald Clarke of the Irish Times singled out Mescal's performance praise:
None of this could hope to work so well without strong performances from the two leads. Despite being hampered by lockdown conditions, Mescal and Corio somehow established an uncannily firm connection.
Mescal just about conceals a nagging unhappiness that only fully takes over when Calum is not in immediate contact with his daughter. There is a sense of a man ever eager to place his head in his hands.
Paul Mescal Shines In Aftersun
#aftersun is a masterclass in heartbreak. It’s honest,authentic and subtly devastating. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this is one of the best directorial debuts of the last decade.
— Sethsfilmreviews (@sethsfilmreview) November 18, 2022
Clarisse Loughrey also gave the film a five star rating in her review for the Independent, and, like Donald Clarke, she lavished praise upon Mescal.
"An astounding first feature that captures Paul Mescal at his most heart-wrenching.
"For all that Aftersun can be described as gentle, contemplative and even beautiful, it’s also the kind of film that feels as if it’s teetering on the edge of a cliff. Mescal’s Calum bears the same kind of broken-down charm of his Connell in Normal People, but there are moments of sudden detachment that feel especially heart-wrenching."