After the Wedding starring Mads Mikkelsen – A 2007 Best Foreign Film Oscar Nominee
Danish Jacob (Mads Mikkelsen) has dedicated his life to the orphanage he is running in India, being a teacher/provider/friend. He is also doing his best to help the kids outside the orphanage.
So he is unwilling to go to Denmark to meet a businessman interested in investing in the orphanage. But Jacob also knows that he has no choice: it is either he gets the money, or they shut down. So he says goodbye to the kids, including Paramod, who Jacob has taken care of since he was born. His plan is to show the reality of India, get the money and fly back in a couple of days.
But the businessman Jørgen (Rolf Lassgård) seems less than willing to give the money right away. Instead, he invites Jacob to the wedding of his daughter Anna (Stine Fischer Christensen). It’s at the wedding that Jacob realizes that the orphanage might not be why he’s there: Helene (Sidse Babett Knudsen), his ex-girlfriend, is the bride’s mother and it won’t be the only shock he’ll get during the event, or his stay.
With a huge can of worms being opened, and Jørgen’s weird demands in order to give the money, Jacob will be in a dilemma of a lifetime, and Jørgen’s decisions will shake up his entire family. What the hell does he want? And why?
A Should-See: Like its characters, the film is flawed but highly gripping and impressive
After the Wedding (Efter brylluppet) is a gripping drama that successfully manipulates the audience’s feelings, as well as their thoughts of the characters. Jørgen, Helene and Jacob are all multi-layered, grey characters who invoke a variety of feelings in a short amount of time.
Jacob started out as my favorite character, for instance. How can he not? Here’s a guy, away from home, working to run an orphanage. It’s as selfless as it can get. He is so unwilling to leave the kids, who have become his family, behind.
And Jørgen doesn’t make an impressive start. We all know he is up to something, and it would have been highly unlikely that a man of his resources didn’t know Jacob was Helene’s Jacob. And what kind of a man brings an ex –an ex that he suspects his wife isn’t completely over – to their daughter’s wedding?
And Helene- well, watch the movie to see what she does…
But as the characters interact more, we realize that Jacob has a less than impressive past, Helene faced some challenging choices and Jørgen, albeit flawed, is a decent father and husband.
It’s quite a fulfilling experience to watch a film where you get to experience contempt and love, admiration and anger, empathy, sympathy and forgiveness for the same character –not necessarily in that order.
After the Wedding has a wonderfully humane story and a marvelous cast. That’s not to say the movie doesn’t have its flaws. The pace occasionally feels like it is slower than necessary, some characters add pretty much nothing to the story (OK-one character- the grandmother) and the frequent close-up of the actors’ eyes can get a bit irritating-to the point where you feel like eyes to Susanne Bier (director) are what feet are to Quentin Tarantino. And while I definitely prefer an obsession about the eyes, the movie could have used less shots of them.
But the forgivable flaws aside, I loved the movie, which was an Oscar nominee in 2007 for Best Foreign Language Film.
Directed and co-written by Susanne Bier, this 2006 gem is rated at 7.8 on IMDB. I’m rating it an 8.
You should give it a chance. Just like all movies, this movie has its share of discontent viewers, but stopping the experience is only a button away. So just start watching it. You might love it.
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