It seems like every year there’s a new crop of memorable directorial debuts and 2022 is no exception.

Movies directed by gay filmmaker Jerrod Carmichael (“On the Count of Three”), as well as Mimi Cave (“Fresh”) and B.J. Novak (“Vengeance”) rank among this year’s most unforgettable.

Queer filmmaker Charlotte Wells’ feature-length debut “Aftersun” (A24) belongs at the top of that list. A deeply personal portrait of a father and daughter set in the late 1990s, the radiant “Aftersun” seamlessly blends humor and heartache resulting in the kind of movie that lingers in your consciousness long after the last frame has faded (and what the last frame it is!). Additionally, Wells stitches together different forms of visual expression, including camcorder footage and a strobe-punctuated kind of dream sequence, which only adds to the impact of the storytelling.

Calum (the ubiquitous and hot Paul Mescal), on the cusp of his 31st birthday, is on holiday with his whip-smart 11-year-old daughter Sophie (Frankie Corio making her feature film debut) in a seaside resort in Turkey. Calum and Sophie’s mother are separated, and it’s obvious that Calum is making an effort to remain involved and interested in Sophie’s life.

Sophie has a camcorder and makes use of it, videoing her father, as well as some of her antics and commentary. Wells incorporates the video footage throughout and it gives an additional layer of perspective to the viewer. Also interwoven are dream-like snippets in which we see Calum dancing, presumably in a nightclub due to the lighting effects, while the adult Sophie (queer actor Celia Rowlson-Hall) watches from the sidelines.

The interactions between Calum and young Sophie feel achingly authentic. You never doubt for a moment that they are related. There is genuine sweetness and affection in the way that they talk to each other. Calum is trying to get his life together (in the early part of the movie he’s wearing a cast on his broken wrist which he eventually removes) and has a book on meditation and regularly does tai chi. Sophie teases him affectionately about his “slow-motion Ninja moves,” asking him why he’s “so weird, sometimes.”

Much later, Calum refuses to sing karaoke with Sophie who is forced to go solo. When he offers to get her singing lessons following her less-than-stellar performance, the wounded Sophie tells him to stop offering to pay for something she knows he can’t afford, subtly returning an insult.

To say any more would deprive you of the pleasure of experiencing acting, writing, and directing yourself. In other words, “Aftersun” is strongly recommended.

Rating: A-

Gregg Shapiro is the author of eight books including the poetry chapbook Fear of Muses (Souvenir Spoon Books, 2022). An entertainment journalist, whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBTQ+ and mainstream publications and websites, Shapiro lives in Fort Lauderdale with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.