Chew's Reviews - After the Wedding

By Gary Chew | 

Opens today | 

To re-enforce the contention that when creating quality cinema “the fundamental ingredient is always the script,” a picture now opening proves useful for that argument. Surprisingly, it's remade from a 2006 film by Susanne Bier which she wrote and directed. Remember AFTER THE WEDDING … in Danish? For clarity, I'll continue to list it as #1 or I.

Director Bart Freundlich now brings you AFTER THE WEDDING…in English (II or #2). Language is not the only big change in this gripping story which Freundlich has adapted from Bier's original words; he's pulled a gender-switch with some characters. Julianne Moore, who is Freundlich's real-life wife, gets the role that Rolf Lassgard played in WEDDING I. That character is a wealthy businessman, but since the film comes from Denmark, Jorgen honestly handles all his transactions. Moore's role has the name of Theresa; but, just the same: she's in it to win it – plus, being a great wife and mother.

Now, follow me here: Mads Mikkelsen's WEDDING I role of Jacob is played by Michelle Williams in the remake. Her name is Isabel.

But back to Theresa and her husband: he's played by the busy and effective Billy Crudup. Freundlich decided Crudup's part ought to carry the name of Oscar (hmmm).

This next one's easier. The young adult child of Oscar and Theresa's remains female. She's Grace. Now, that's a really good name, don't you think? Abby Quinn plays Grace. (She's also plays Anne in the up coming Greta Gerwig holiday film LITTLE WOMEN.) Grace is marrying a young man who works for Theresa's big company. And that's what folds all of this heavy stuff together for people keen on seeing compelling motion pictures.

Isabel starts it all off in India where she's the main person running a school and orphanage for rather destitute young children. The school is having money problems. With some truncation on my part, she goes to New York City to solidify a large contribution from Theresa's company. She's not met Theresa, and vice-versa. Slightly spoiling here, but I must: Isabel knows Oscar, even “biblically,” but doesn't know Theresa has since married him. So when the former lovers spot one another at Grace's upscale after the wedding bash, the “fan” is hit by all kinds of “Uh, why are YOU here?” And other such pained queries. But there's even more … and then … even more than that ... after that.

Whoa, I just cannot spoil anymore of this excellent picture that will linger with you, most likely, until at least the end of this year. I say that, because I haven't gotten AFTER THE WEDDING I out of my skull yet. It took an Oscar nomination in 2007 for Best Foreign Language Film.

Whether the genders are switched one way or the other, both plots carry forth a deep sense of wanting to nurture and being the best one can be for others who surround one's existence. The film helps make you recall there really are some caring people in the world. It's such a good feeling to have, although getting through it all is no picnic … whether in Denmark or America.

Kudos to Bier, Freundlich and the actors in both movies for using their talents in .. what I call: allowing significance into their work. Moore, Phillips and Crudup are three actors who seem to ferret out these stories of import for their expression. For me, it speaks of them well.

Copyright by Gary Chew © 2019. All right reserved.


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