After the Wedding

A remake of the Danish great, this version of After the Wedding hasn’t been well-received. But that doesn’t mean it is bad.  The film boasts tremendous performances. Very raw, such power from the main four.

Based on the same-named 2006 Danish drama, this remake scores by gender-flipping the action and putting the story’s emotional weight on powerhouses Moore and Williams.
Common Sense Media

As if driven by an inescapable force, Isabel has devoted her life to running an orphanage in a Calcutta slum. With funds running dry, a potential donor appears, requiring Isabelle to travel from India to New York. The city she deliberately hasn’t returned to in over two decades. Once in New York, Isabel meets the orphanage’s possible benefactor, Theresa Young, a multi-millionaire media mogul accustomed to getting what she wants.

Theresa’s life couldn’t appear to be more perfect and different from Isabel’s. But appearances are only skin deep and the two women have more in common than meets the eye. While Isabel thinks she’ll immediately be returning to her beloved orphanage, Theresa has other plans, insisting Isabel attend Grace’s wedding at the family’s estate. The joyful event becomes a catalyst for a revelation that upends the lives of both women.

This version of After the Wedding hasn’t been well-received, being a few steps further over the implausibility line than even the somewhat implausible Danish original, but tearjerkers rarely have this kind of stuffing. I enjoyed how the director gives space to his actors, even the ones he’s not married to. In common with Susanne Bier, he doesn’t fake a harmonious middle ground between the extreme poverty of urban India and the extreme opulence of Westchester County — liberalism and philanthropy can only go so far. None of the characters has a true home. Comedies end with weddings, with order replacing chaos, but After the Wedding is not a comedy and weddings don’t fool anyone.

USA 2019, 111 min, M (offensive language)
Based on the same-named 2006 Danish drama
Directed by Bart Freundlich
Starring Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Billy Cudrup, Abbie Quinn & Alex Esola

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