AFTER THE WEDDING, US, 2019. Starring Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup, Will Chase, Abby Quinn, Alex Esola. Directed by Bart Freundlich. 112 minutes. Rated M (Coarse language)
Audiences may remember the Danish film of the same name, from 2007, starring Mads Mikkelson, directed by Susan Bier. It made quite an impact at the time.
Part of the impact was the decision to do an English-language remake. The original was adapted and the new film directed by Bart Freundlich (The Myth of Fingerprints, Trust the Man). Both of these films starred his wife, Julianne Moore, and he directs her in this film as well. This version stays close to the original but is interesting because of one particularly significant change, the gender of the principal characters is reversed, so this becomes more of a story about women than the original which focused on men.
This film has a strong cast, not only with Julianne Moore very dynamic, but a subtle and sometimes mysterious performance by Michelle Williams, well worth experiencing, the central focus of the drama. Included in the cast is Billy Crudup as Julianne Moore’s husband and Abby Quinn as his daughter.
The opening sequences are set in India, some wonderful aerial shots of the landscapes, of the city, finally coming down to settle on children in prayer at an orphanage – and then their going to play soccer. Michelle Williams is Isabel, who has come from the United States, living and working in India for many years, supporting the orphanage but on the lookout for funding, absorbing Indian traditional prayer and contemplation, very much attached to the young orphans. .
The film opens with news of potential funding from the United States, from a wealthy benefactress, Teresa, (Julianne Moore), a busy head of a very successful company which she has developed. She is married to Oscar (Billy Crudup) an artist, also successful. His daughter, Grace (Abby Quinn) is about to be married. Teresa demands that Isabel come in person to New York to negotiate the financial support – and she is invited by Teresa, over-preoccupied with detail of the wedding reception, to come to the wedding.
The film has some emotional complications, the audience not expecting them but appreciating the attention to little details, expressions, looks, which will reveal the complexities (and which the review will not reveal).
There are many dramatic and emotional moments in the film. They are not rushed. The film moves with something of a quiet pace even as the drama intensifies.
This is a film which not only interests the audience in the characters but even more so in their interactions – which emerge, as the title indicates, after the wedding.
Rialto films Released October 24th
Peter Malone MSC is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.