‘After the Wedding’ Review: An Emotional Journey with Something Amiss

After the Wedding Review

When I first saw the trailer for After the Wedding, I knew I had to see it – purely because I adore Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore. I hadn’t read the book (Susanne Bier’s Birdbox) on which the film is based, nor had I seen the original 2006 film that was based on the book. I was going into the film blind but intrigued by this gender-swapped remake.

In this version, Isabel (Michelle Williams) has dedicated her life to working at an orphanage in Calcutta. Theresa (Julianne Moore) is the multimillionaire head of a media company who lives with her artist husband (Billy Crudup) and their twin boys in New York. When word comes to Isabel of a mysterious and generous grant for the financially struggling orphanage, she must travel to New York to meet the benefactor, Theresa, in-person.
See the trailer below.

After the Wedding Review: What I Did and Didn’t Like

Let me start off by saying that Julianne Moore is a powerhouse in this, and her performance here is worthy of award-season consideration. Michelle Williams and Billy Crudup also give strong performances. However, I never truly bonded with any of these characters despite the fact they all emotionally wrecked me.

Williams’ character, Isabel, seems angry throughout the whole film, and while she certainly had reasons to be at parts. I never understood the anger she had in her from the beginning. I understand her not wanting to be away from the orphanage – but one would think she’s smart enough to know she needs to put a pleasant face for a benefactor she’s asking for millions of dollars.

Moore’s character, Theresa, seems like she almost wants to feel pain. Either that or she truly is a selfless person with no regard for herself. There just seemed like there was more to learn about each of these characters than was being conveyed to the audience. What was the motivation for the demeanors and decisions being made – surely there’s more here than meets the eye?

There was just something here that didn’t fully click for me – despite my appreciation for the film. I can’t say for sure if it was the overall story, the script – or the interpretation of the script.

Overall Thoughts

It is an emotional journey that tells a rather complex and human story. And even though something felt amiss to me, I still enjoy films like this that tell raw stories. It’s awkward and wrecking, yet feels real and leaves you with plenty to think about. What would you do if you were in these characters’ shoes? It’s a painful reality to imagine, but there’s also a good deal of beauty in that pain.

So all in all, even though something was off with After the Wedding, I still enjoyed it.

After the Wedding Review:

Grade: B-

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