After the Wedding
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Seeking funds for her orphanage in India, Isabelle travels to New York to meet Theresa, a wealthy benefactor. An invitation to attend a wedding ignites a series of events in which the past collides with the present as mysteries unravel.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
After the Wedding starts off with Isabel (Michelle Williams), a woman running an orphanage for young children in India, and to be honest, I wish it had stayed there. Instead, we find ourselves whisked away to New York to chase money - money that belongs to Theresa (Julianne Moore), a businesswoman who waves it in front of her like a carrot in front of a horse.
The two of them then embark on a convoluted journey that is so melancholic that I found myself crying. But then admonished myself because I knew that the tears had been mined from me instead of voluntarily given. I'm not saying I was looking for a comedy for a light-hearted romp. I don't like it when watching a movie feels like so much work.
Listen, don't get me wrong. Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams are incredible actresses. Their performances are organic and absorbing. But the script doesn't serve them. It's a little bit slow and frustrating. It spends a little too long building and then when the twist comes it's delivered with more of thud then I was hoping for. I also have to add that Abby Quinn, who plays Grace, is a lot of fun to watch on screen. She has one of those faces that manages to tell a story. She's also really good at embodying what it's like to be in the stage in your life between who you thought you would be and who you really are.
The best part of the movie is how beautifully it is shot and how it made me want to live in the spaces the characters inhabit. Both India and New York feel and look like a dreamscape. The director, Bart Freundlich, is married to Julianne Moore and gives her one especially powerful scene that it's hard to tear your eyes away from. He has worked on a lot of critically acclaimed TV shows like Mozart in the Jungle and Californication, so it makes sense that this indie movie has such a sleek Hollywood feel, but sometimes it does feel staccato too. Like episodes of a TV show. Slightly disjointed.
The film is a remake of the 2006 film of the same name by Susanne Bier which received much more critical acclaim. The original was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film but lost to The Lives of Others. I have to say the spark that this remake failed to light burned brightly with the original.
I think my overall problem with the film is it became weighed down in its own processing a little too much. I left feeling incredibly sad. I know that there are people who revel who that kind of navel-gazing on screen. It provides a singular form of catharsis. To those people, I would say, this movie is for you and please go right ahead and bring your tissues.