After the Wedding is a 2019 film directed by Bart Freundlich and is based upon the 2006 film with the same name by Susanne Bier. The film follows the journey of Isabel (Michelle Williams), a Caucasian woman who lives in India and helps to run an orphanage. Isabel gets an offer to start a fund for the children, but it means living in New York, and comes with a special twist.
Despite her frustration by the need to justify a charitable donation, Isabel meets with a potential benefactor Theresa Young (Julianne Moore). However, the meeting falls a day before the wedding of Theresa’s daughter Grace (Abby Quinn) and a whole lot of drama begins to unfold.
The film opens with stunning and creative cinematography executed by Julio Macat and is consistent throughout, with a variation between long dolly and jib shots, to macro close ups of objects around the area to symbolise the passing of time. This camera work and production is some of the highlights of the film, engrossing me in to the plot.
Despite the impressive cinematography, the film lacks in narrative structure and acting, which detracts from the overall enjoyment and value of the film. There are narrative components which are heartbreaking and well done, such as the use of a rock that Grace’s father Oscar (Billy Crudup) makes, and the repetition of the birds’ nests belonging to Oscar’s wife Theresa. The main drawback to the narrative is that it simply tries too hard, containing sub-plots such as saving children in Africa, mixed with family drama, and physical illness. After watching the film, I couldn’t even figure out how to describe it to someone else.
The acting at times is superb, with Michelle Williams as Isabel a great addiction to the cast, but the timing and directing of the actors just felt off. There are massive gaps of blank, unexplained staring before the actors responded—it felt like the editor just mistimed the rhythm. There are also moments in the film where a plot twist leads to emotional reactions from all the actors and feels overdone. Also, the implementation of makeup when one of the characters is revealed to have a life altering illness, brought on too suddenly as in one scene they look healthy, and in the next they are immediately pale and tired.
These factors let the film down, and whilst the idea and general storyline has potential, I don’t think the film lives up to a standard of quality. Sadly, whilst there are amazing shots in there, I wouldn’t be rushing to tell people to watch it.
After the Wedding is in cinemas from October 24!