Movie Review: 'After the Wedding'

John Thomas
Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams in After the Wedding.

Past events can unexpectedly have a greater influence on the future than those that are taking place in the present. Isabel (Michelle Williams), manager of an orphanage in Kolkata, India, leads a happy, rewarding life serving the needs of the hundreds of children in her school. Theresa (Julianne Moore), CEO of the world’s most successful media company, leads an exciting and rewarding life as wife and mother and as guiding hand to her staff. Both women are unprepared for past events that will soon creep into their present, forever changing their plans for the future.

In India, the number of orphans is steadily increasing as is the death rate of many children due to lack of proper medical care. Adding to the problem are shrinking funds provided by the government and donations from generous patrons. Isabel’s school is desperate for additional funding. The head of the school informs Isabel that she must travel to New York to ask for more than the two million dollars that has been pledged by Theresa’a company. “No one else can do it, you must go,” she informs Isabel. “They are expecting you.” Indeed they are. Isabel is met at the airport by a car and chauffeur and driven to a suite of rooms at a fashionable hotel in mid-town Manhattan.

The meeting with Theresa is somewhat fragmented as Theresa is occupied completing details for her daughter’s wedding that weekend – she really doesn’t have time for Isabel. “Why don’t you come to the wedding?” she asks her. “We could get to know one another better, and you could meet my family.” Isabel reluctantly agrees and arrives at the ceremony just as the bridal couple are saying “I do.” At the wedding dinner, the bride, Grace (Abby Quinn), toasts her friends and especially her mother and father for being there to help celebrate this exciting occasion. She recants stories from her childhood and the love she was shown by her parents.

With great joy and pride her father, Oscar (Billy Crudup), scans the crowd of guests assembled in his lovely garden for the wedding ceremony – that is, until his eyes meet those of Isabel. Uh-oh, something’s very amiss, and it’s only going to get worse. The two meet privately in a quiet part of the house. Oscar has such a catastrophic confession to make that Isabel flees the house returning to her hotel to pack – she’s leaving New York. Before leaving for India, however, she agrees to meet with Theresa one more time. At the meeting, Theresa expresses her desire to increase her donation to $20 million over a five year period – with one small stipulation, of course.

Directed by Bart Freundlich (Credits: Wolves, Mozart in the Jungle-TV) After the Wedding is a “should see” movie that runs 110 minutes.


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