Neil Finn may have sung about seven worlds colliding, but in After the Wedding it’s really only about two. A pair of women – one obscenely rich and the other a selfless worker at an orphanage – come together for a chance meeting due to money. The result is an overlong affair that fails to have any real emotion.
This film is an adaptation of a Danish drama directed by Susanne Bier, which starred Mads Mikkelsen. The latest incarnation however, is directed by Bart Freundlich and the lead roles are played by women rather than men. This is a win for strong female characters but it is ultimately let down by the way it is rendered. The stars are Freundlich’s wife, Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams, who are both accomplished actresses. Yet in this film, neither manages to forge any real chemistry and in turn, they fail to elicit much emotion in the viewer.
Williams plays Isabel, a woman who is most at home in her adopted country of India. It is there that she plays a big role at an orphanage, to the point where she has become a pseudo-mother to one of her charges. Isabel is given the opportunity to secure a much-needed, $2m donation to support the crumbling place. But the gift is contingent on her travelling to New York to meet the benefactor in person.
Enter media mogul Theresa (Moore), a confident career woman who is used to micro-managing everything. She assures Williams that the deal is forthcoming, providing that Isabel stays on a few days more- until after Theresa’s daughter’s wedding. During this visit, Isabel meets Theresa’s husband (Billy Crudup (Almost Famous)) and learns some secrets about the past. Some things are unremarkable and can be spotted a mile off, while other stuff may be surprising but is handled in the dullest way imaginable.
After the Wedding should have been a taut and thrilling mystery, especially when you consider the pedigree of the cast involved. Instead, it’s a very cool and detached look at two women and the gulf between them. Sadly, this slow and overlong piece looks set to disappear into that quiet chasm – never to resurface for air – even after the wedding is all said and done.
REVIEW SCORE: TWO STARS (OUT OF FIVE).
After the Wedding is screening nationally.