Published on August 16th, 2019 | by Dan Nicholls0
After the Wedding
After the Wedding is a remake of a Danish film from a decade ago that was nominated for an Oscar. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold up.
One hell of a fantastically talented cast makes the strongest case for seeing After the Wedding, a relatively tame drama based on an Oscar-nominated Danish film from 13 years ago. Fancying up a production to re-purpose it for Western palettes doesn’t mean the original soul remains intact; despite flying close to some awfully intriguing material, the experience eventually dissolves before your eyes leaving nothing substantial to carry out of the theater with you.
Isabel (Michelle Williams) is helping to run an orphanage in India when she gets a call from New York that ends up changing her life forever. A benevolent benefactor named Theresa (Julianne Moore) wants to give Isabel $2.5 million to help with her humanitarian efforts. The catch is that the two must meet in person first – a meeting that leads to Isabel receiving an invite to Theresa’s daughter’s wedding. It’s at that fateful wedding when Isabel sees Theresa’s husband, Oscar (Billy Crudup), and the coincidences in Theresa’s connection become too substantial to ignore.
The story that untangles in director Bart Freundlich’s adaptation stumbles out a bit too unsure of itself, as if the film keeps deciding whose story this really is. Perhaps the biggest problem with After the Wedding is that we spend so much time unsure of Theresa and her motives that when her resolution comes it’s too forced and too hard to connect with. If the game had been given up sooner in the timeline then we perhaps the relationship between Isabel and Theresa would be given more room to create some real emotional resonance. Its best moments (the first half of the movie essentially) ironically end up dampening the overall impact.
The secrets, once finally exposed, aren’t as explosive as you’d hoped and the drama doesn’t dig nearly deep enough. What starts out as a fascinating mystery slowly becomes the stuff of average melodrama. Three capital-A Actors in Moore, Williams, and Crudup means that the picture is always at least giving you something worth your time. But your time can be worth so, so much more than something almost instantly forgettable.
After the Wedding has moments that affect you and long stretches that leave you longing for something more engaging to sink your teeth into. Despite the valiant efforts of the three leads and the easy, natural direction and dialogue provided by Freundlich, it just isn’t an affair to remember.