Movie Review: “After the Wedding” is a Droopy Disappointment

After the Wedding feels like a movie that lost its focus in its final phases. The premise is touching and could have led to a compelling emotional drama if the script had been reworked and reshaped. Instead, the film uses cheesy horror-type music to amp up tension that just isn’t there.

Isabel (Michelle Williams) is a woman who has dedicated her life to building and running an orphanage in India. She not only provides housing but teaches the children and nurtures them. She is, in these ways, the perfect mother. She is called to New York to meet a possible investor. Although hesitant to do so, she leaves her new beloved home to seek the funds. The person donating the money, Theresa (Julianne Moore) is a high power businesswoman in a strong and stable marriage. She is raising the daughter that her husband had when they met.  Does this stable environment, this strong female upbringing make her the perfect mother? What makes someone a mother? Is it the person who births the child or the one who raises the child? These are not the questions that you expect from a film with an edgy film score that hints and mystery and suspense.

There are some plot “surprises” but they do not flow naturally and they are handled either too woefully or too casually, never quite feeling like realistic human interchanges.

Billy Crudup (as Oscar) is well-matched with the acting prowess of the two women, but they just don’t have strong enough material to make a fluid film. With odd cuts, abrupt but unsurprising twists and actions that don’t seem true to the characters we’ve been introduced to, the movie is a slush of underachieved potential.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Director: Bart Freundlich
Writer: Susanne Bier
Starring: Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup
Runtime: 111 minutes
Release date: August 23rd (Houston)
MPAA rating: PG-13

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