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Film Review: After The Wedding

Director:    Bart Freundlich

Cast:  Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup, Abby Quinn, Will Chase, Anjula Bedi, Alex Esola

Rating:    M

Running Time:    112

Australian Distributor:      Rialto Distribution

 

After the Wedding follows a long line of family dramas that share similarities. Where long lost members of the family come together and (surprise, surprise) they have secrets.  After the Wedding is an American remake of Susanne Bier’s 2006 Danish drama, which was nominated for Best Foreign-Language Film at the Academy Awards.

Michelle Williams plays Isabel a woman who oversees a school in India. She goes to New York to meet with a potential donor who wants to give her money for her school because paying for a school isn’t cheap and donations go a long way to feed, house & vaccinate the students. 

Julianne Moore portrays Theresa a woman who is about to come into millions of dollars from selling her company. She is the potential donor. She invites Isabel to her daughter’s wedding over the weekend to finalise details of the deal. Isabel recognises Theresa’s husband Oscar (Billy Crudup) and leave it at that. As their shared history is revealed, the lives of all the characters change irreparably.

There are actually several surprises in After the Wedding. Right when you think you have a grasp on what’s happening, another layer is added that gets you seeing everything from a slightly different angle.

Watching how the characters assimilate and try to deal with new information provides some pretty good drama. The film addresses a number of themes, including youthful insecurity and how the emergence of a long-held secret can have devastating repercussions. You feel different ways about these individuals at different times. As they struggle to make sense of their predicament, they sometimes act selfishly, other times with great generosity.   

There is some manipulation in the way the story sets up and develops.  Perhaps what saves it from cloying melodrama is the heartfelt anguish seeping through the dialogue spoken by fine actors, and the gorgeous buildings and scenery as photographed by cinematographer Julio Macat.

The film can be summed up as a study of the characters, performed with emotional precision by the cast, as they do their best to adjust to this new reality of life, of family, of what could be, and of what will be for certain.

 

 



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