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Dramatic twists and Oscar-worthy performances in ‘After The Wedding’

After the Wedding, directed by Bart Freundlich, is a remake based on the original 2006 Danish drama, Efter Brylluppet by Bird Box director Susanne Bier. With a stellar cast including the superb Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams and Billy Crudup, this remake modernises female roles by gender-flipping the action, effectively shifting the focus onto the two strong female leads.

Williams plays Isabelle, an idealistic woman who has found peace and purpose immersing her life in servitude to an Indian orphanage. The operation is in dire need of a funding injection; enter Theresa Young (Moore), a self-made millionaire, NYC-based businesswoman who agrees to donate a generous life-changing sum, but with non-negotiable conditions attached. Isabelle is requested to meet with Theresa in New York against her will as she is reluctant to leave behind a young boy whom she has grown a maternal bond to, having cared for him since he was orphaned as a baby.

Resentful, Isabelle’s arrival is timely as Theresa’s daughter Grace (Abby Quinn) is getting married in a lavish garden wedding. Unexpected plot twists persistently unfold after Isabelle lays eyes on Grace’s father Oscar (Crudup) revealing a secret history so intense, it shakes the foundation of the family and turns Isabelle’s world upside down.

Much of the film takes place just before, during and after the wedding day, as Isabelle, along with the film’s audience, is suddenly forced to digest this new information that connects her past to Oliver.

Theresa is the powerful and confident matriarch. When her surprising secret is disclosed, the confrontations escalate to a riveting heart-wrenching scene that is sure to jerk some tears from Moore’s Oscar-worthy moment.

On the other hand, it takes time to warm to Isabelle’s character with what seems a one-tone facial expression from Williams, continually all too devastated, or angry, or both. Crudup is suited to the role of Oscar, but is depicted a little shallow, playing the role with mediocrity, and lacking the quirks you might expect from a sculptural artist.

If you like melodrama that has lots of twists and intrigue, you’ll enjoy After The Wedding. However, the film is somewhat safe with its Hollywood resolution and at times lacks credibility, especially with the dynamics between Grace and Isabelle.

I wanted to love this film, but found it had a shortfall in realism. Visually it delivers with beautiful cinematography and its rich juxtaposition of poverty and wealth.

You’ll either love it or walk away feeling like it didn’t hit the mark.

Annette McCubbin

 

 

‘After The Wedding’ is in cinemas now.

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