Sundance London: After the Wedding (2019)

In After the Wedding Bart Freundlich piles unlikely event on unlikely event on Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams in a weepie melodrama that reaches emotional overload.

The Honeymoon is Over

by Alexa Dalby

After the Wedding

CAUTION: Here be spoilers

Michelle Williams is Isabel, a caring hippie-ish American woman, a ‘white saviour’ who runs a poverty-stricken orphanage in India, where she has a special attachment to one young boy Jai (Vir Pachisia). A corporate benefactor in the UK offers a multi-million-dollar donation to keep the project going on condition Isabel comes to New York to meet in person – which she reluctantly does and is hosted with no expense spared. The potential donor is high-achieving businesswoman Theresa (Julianne Moore), owner of a huge company that she is selling. She’s tough, charming and she insists Isabel comes to her daughter’s wedding at their estate in upstate New York that weekend so they can get to know each other before doing the deal.

That’s the set-up and the wedding is the catalyst for the eyebrow-raising emotional revelations that unfold thereafter.

After the Wedding is a US remake of Suzanne Bier’s acclaimed Danish drama Efter brylluppet. In her original, the two principal characters were male and the remake reimagines them as female. Though this should be a positive move forward for women, unfortunately it results in some plot twists that are inexplicable. The film progresses conventionally, though there’s a recurring image – a metaphor of a wild bird’s nest full of eggs in that rears its head in various places from time to time.

Ignorance is bliss where the almost unbelievable plot is concerned, because there’s still interest to be had in finding out how things turn out in the end, so no spoilers here. Williams and Moore’s convincing acting as two strong women stands out in the sometimes shouty emotional sludge. where Bier’s dogma-ish original seems traduced into a TV soap that’s obsessed with the opulence of its surroundings.

After the Wedding premiered in the UK at Sundance London 2019.

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