Imagine, for a moment, you’re a space alien who’s never met a human being, and all the knowledge you have of Earthlings comes from watching mid-tier drama and suspense movies. And then, you decide to make your own movie, starring humans. The movie you’ve made looks something like After the Wedding.
After the Wedding stars Michelle Williams as a woman running an orphanage in India, who’s called to New York to talk about a multi-million dollar funding plan with a media mogul played by Julianne Moore. And then, things get complicated. I won’t say more, because the movie would very much like to be full of twists and turns, but this is exactly wrong. Hiding inside is what could have been a striking human drama-- a complex one, to be sure, but, if played properly, one that could have been quite emotionally effective. But the movie wants intrigue and suspicion instead, and the real human feelings are almost entirely lost. It seems to understand there are certain things that make up a movie, but it just inserts them as if following a template. Here is the scene where Julianne Moore is very sad. Here is the scene where the newlyweds have a huge fight. And so on.
More than anything, the movie is just… weird. The people don’t act like people. The actors randomly repeat lines of dialogue at each other, and not in an interesting David Mamet way. There are drone shots that sweep us up into the sky… for no apparent reason. These were all intentional decisions. I just don’t know why they were made.
Williams is too good to be in this movie—she’s able to convey so much conflict in her face, so many different emotions at once, and it’s wasted. As is Julianne Moore, for that matter. They deserve better. They deserve something, at least.
After the Wedding is based on a 2006 Danish film, which I haven’t seen, but it was nominated for an Oscar, and it stars Mads Mikkelsen, who everybody loves, so let’s just assume you should watch that one instead.