After Lucía is a Mexican production that deals with issues such as bullying and violence in the classroom in a raw and cold way, intertwining this main theme with problems such as grief, lack of limits in adolescents, and lack of emotional management skills among many others.

The film tells the story of Alejandra, who moves to Mexico City with her father after the death of her mother in a traffic accident in which she was present. There, a series of events is unleashed that give rise to bullying that escalates until it explodes. The tragic death of Lucia, the mother, has turned Roberto (the father) and Alejandra into vulnerable beings, who have not yet overcome their grief. Hence the title of the film, since this vulnerability is a facilitator for the bullying to occur to such a high degree, the protagonist not being able to count on her father as a source of help and support.

The film takes care of disconcerting the viewer, using a very slow and realistic narrative, in which we slowly get to know Alejandra, and together discover all the hardships she is going through. At times one might think that such coldness in the face of suffering is impossible in young people, but reality can surpass fiction.

Unprocessed grief

In the first half of the film, we see several scenes in which the director subtly reflects the lack of a healthy processing of Lucia’s grief. The first scene shows how Roberto picks up the car from the accident at the mechanic’s shop and leaves it abandoned on the street, with no explanation to the viewer as to what is going on. We also see how Alejandra says that her mother stayed in Porto when asked about her, or how Roberto does not want to use the same things from the old house. Through these examples of avoidance in the face of the impossibility of facing reality, in addition to small details and many walls of silence and sudden explosions of emotion, Michel Franco lays the foundation on which all the subsequent violence is maintained.

The Bullying

Alejandra’s relationship with her classmates begins as normal, a new girl who joins the popular group, they go to a party, drink and do drugs together and she has sex with one of them, who records everything. Here we begin to see Alejandra’s self-injurious behaviors, who agrees to be recorded without imagining what could happen next. The virtualization of the video at school is the trigger of harassment that increases exponentially, going from verbal annoyances to physical and sexual violence and social exclusion, being ignored, while she suffers all kinds of mistreatment. In addition, it is seen how electronic devices facilitate the rapid increase in harassment.

To understand the film, it is necessary to look at the phenomenon of naturalization of violence in schools, which is becoming more and more established, becoming a «normal», «everyday» violence.

Causes and consequences of bullying in After Lucia

We see how Alejandra’s relationship with her father is apparently good and «relaxed», which is in reality quite fragile and superficial, with no trust and based on lies and cover-ups, making the protagonist more vulnerable. She has no support to defend herself, recently orphaned from her mother, with a father who doesn’t know how to devote quality time to her, being the new girl who needs friends no matter what. There is also latent guilt in Alejandra for the death of her mother, which is never explained to the viewer; this guilt may be the cause of the passive attitude she shows in the face of harassment, almost implying that «I deserve it».

Where are the adults?

Something that is very evident throughout the film is the lack of adult presence, not only on the part of Roberto who does not find out until the end of what is happening to his daughter but also from teachers and parents of other students. There is a scene, in which we see how they mistreat Alejandra on her birthday after a class in which we do not see a single adult intervene in any way, although this happens inside a classroom of the institute. Neither in meetings at classmates’ homes nor on school trips, do we hardly see the presence of adults setting any kind of limits.

The social tribe

One of the greatest complexities in adolescence is the codes generated among peers. One of them, latent in this film, is that denouncing is equivalent to exclusion since the one who takes it «puts up with it». Alejandra abides by these codes fiercely, being the moment in which she lies when asked directly what is happening at the point of no return. Here the aggressors are aware of their impunity and everything begins to unfold at breathtaking speed.

We also observe the establishment of roles and the desperation to get out of the role of the victim. We see at the beginning that one of the boys in the group is the one who fulfilled this role before Alejandra arrived, being an overweight adolescent. As soon as the ban is opened to harass the protagonist, this is one of the characters who harasses more strongly, since he sees the opportunity for someone else to take the role he had been playing until now, and feels that he belongs to the group in a stronger way.

The consequences of bullying that we see in Alejandra are evident: anguish, sadness, isolation, social phobia, learned helplessness, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and depression. The aftermath of bullying usually accompanies people into adulthood, resulting in depressive adults, with a tendency to addiction or prone to develop a psychological disorder.


After Lucía is not an «easy» film but a hurtful, uncomfortable, and raw film that makes you feel the hopelessness of the protagonist and generates feelings of anguish, helplessness, and rejection. The great achievement of this film is that it makes you feel the pain of the characters. The viewer finds himself wanting it to end or for something to happen that generates some kind of justice… and the ending will not leave any viewer indifferent.

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