Sometimes you wish you had the most extravagant clothes or a fancier car. A modern house with all the luxury would be nice as well, wouldn’t it? This is certainly not how Isabel sees her life. She’s living in one of the poorest areas in Kolkata to help her schoolchildren have a great time.
This is where she gets her happiness and joy from. It’s a shame we didn’t enjoy her story being brought to the big screen in “After the Wedding” as much as she enjoys helping the kids.
Isabel (Michelle Williams) has no children of her own and there’s no man in her life but the children she’s helping give her more love than she could ever wish for.
While they are happy with the few things they have, Isabel knows that if they would get more financial support, it could be much better. The solution might come very soon as a very generous businesswoman, Theresa (Julianne Moore) in New York, is willing to help out.
After being hesitant towards it, Isabel decides to fly to the Big Apple in the hope to get the money. However, all she gets is a big disappointment. Theresa has almost no time for Isabel due to her daughter (Abby Quinn) and her upcoming wedding. She doesn’t give Isabel her money yet but at least she gave her a wedding invitation.
Not sure if Isabel wants this, especially because the wedding is going to change her life forever and not in a good way. She finds out that Theresa is married to Oscar (Billy Crudup), with whom Isabel had a very difficult relationship twenty years ago. One that ended due to an unwanted daughter.
This development has a huge impact on everyone’s life. Not only on the business aspect (the possible collaboration between Isabel and Theresa) but also on the personal side (a love triangle is nothing compared to the relationship between the leading characters).
When another emotional blow is hitting both Isabel and Theresa, their world is turned upside down completely. How will these strong women and their families and friends cope with this?
If this story sounds familiar to you, then you’ve probably watched “After the Wedding” (original title: Efter brylluppet) from director Susanne Bier that stars Mads Mikkelsen and Sidse Babett Knudsen. Sadly, the work from Freundlich doesn’t reach the same level as the movie from Bier as this film has more flaws than strong elements.
The biggest flaw is without a doubt the uninteresting story. What starts as a thrilling, mysterious and emotional film which includes some dark family secrets turns out to become a very predictable, slow and weak movie. A wedding is a turning point in everyone’s life and also in this movie.
However, that doesn’t mean there’s joy, happiness and “happily ever after”. If you want to see a film with more punch, vibrancy, and life, then “After the Wedding” is certainly not your film.
If you don’t mind a movie with a weak storyline but great performances, then this latest work from Freundlich is a must-see. Between them, Williams and Moore have 157 awards and 291 nominations and they’ve been proven to us many times that they’re some of the finest actors. Sadly, their professionalism and tremendous talent are being pushed back due to the lack of a compelling story.
Nevertheless, they still manage to capture our attention through the entire movie. Williams (“Venom”, “The Greatest Showman”) shines as the caring, selfless and devoted and but also headstrong, broken and emotional Isabel.
Opposite her, we see the captivating Moore (“Bel Canto”, “Gloria Bell”) as the upscale, dedicated and strict businesswoman but also a loving, insecure and emotionally crushed mother and wife.
Both women are being supported by the wonderful Quinn (“Good Girls Get High”, “Radium Girls”) who’s portraying beautifully and emotionally the young bride. Their performances are the main reasons why you should watch this film.
The cinematography of this movie is neither interesting nor dreadful. It’s just exactly what it is. Thanks to the usage of handheld cameras and the straightforward angles, watching “After the Wedding” makes you feel like you’re with the characters every moment along their emotional way.
In other words, you feel with them and you’re there when they need a shoulder to cry on. As a result of the usage of the handheld cameras, this movie seems to be more of a drama series than a film.
Whether you’re going to like “After the Wedding” or not will be based on what kind of film you want to see. Do you want to see a wonderful remake of the Danish film? Then this is not the film for you as it lacks depth and an interesting and refreshing storyline. That being said, if you want to see a quiet and easy-going in which Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore show their greatness, then watch “After the Wedding”.