Film review / ‘After The Wedding’ (M)

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Julianne Moore, left, and Michelle Williams in “After The Wedding”.

“After The Wedding” (M) ****

IN 2006, Susanne Bier co-wrote (with prolific screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen) and directed a Danish film about family structures intertwining with charitable works in a distant country.

This year, American director Bart Freundlich cast his wife Julianne Moore as one of two leading women in a remake of that precursor. Ms Moore has won 114 peer awards and been nominated for 156 that she didn’t win; res ipsa loquitur.

The other leading woman is Michelle Williams, whose filmography lists 56 feature movies, telemovies and TV series. Her collection of awards is slightly fewer than Ms Moore’s – 44 wins and 139 nominations.

This formidable acting pair play, respectively, powerhouse New York business woman Theresa and Isabel, who lives in India where she helps in running an orphanage. The link between them is that they are both the mother of Grace (Abby Quinn) the bride.

Confused about that? Don’t be. “After The Wedding” is a solidly-constructed drama capable of grabbing you by the emotions and holding them to the last frame. The Indian orphanage is very short of money. Isabel is sent to New York to plead its case for a charitable donation. It will come from Theresa’s company. Isabel’s task on that front is formidable. Then there’s Theresa’s husband Oscar (Billy Crudup). Isabel and Oscar know each other from way back when. 

The film deftly contrasts the poverty of the orphanage with the affluence evident in the preparations for Grace’s wedding next Saturday to which Theresa has invited Isabel. It holds several important elements in reserve as it approaches the drama’s conclusion. Discovering the what and the how of that journey makes the film rewarding. Its over-arching virtue is credibility. The pillars supporting that arch are performances from its two actresses that cry out for escalating those award numbers.

At Dendy, Palace Electric and Capitol 6

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“After The Wedding” (M) ****
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Dougal Macdonald

“CityNews” film reviewer

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