|Genre: Art/Foreign and Drama |
|Running Time: 115 min. |
|Release Date: 03/30/2007 (Limited) |
Distributor: IFC Films
Jacob has dedicated his life to helping street kids in India. When the orphanage he's in charge of is under the threat of closure, he receives an unusual offer. A Danish businessman, Jorgen, offers him a donation of $4 million dollars. But there are certain conditions attached. Jacob must come to Denmark. And he must attend the wedding of Jorgen's daughter. The wedding becomes a landmark meeting between past and future and puts Jacob in the dilemma of his life.
With a title like After The Wedding I wasnít sure exactly what to expect of this film. Would it be about the happy coupleís honeymoon, the parents mixed feelings of joy and sadness? Being from the United States I had the advantage of knowing it was considered significant in that it was nominated for an Oscar for foreign film but disadvantaged because it had never played where I could see it before the awards show. Turns out itís a wonderful character study having almost nothing to do with a wedding at all.
Itís difficult to say too much about the film without revealing some of its many twists and turns but the acting, direction and cinematography are all superior. Orphanage worker turned fund raiser Jacob (Mads Mikkelsen) turns in a fine performance as he struggles to fit in during uncomfortable social and family functions into which he is thrust. The range of emotion demonstrated by Jorgen (Rolf Lassgard) and his daughter Anna (Stien Fischer Christensen) is outstanding. And as they ride their emotional roller coasters we are shown beautiful parallel images from the Danish countryside. Frequent facial close-ups, particularly of the eyes, further bond us with the characters. Jorgenís wife, Helene (Sidse Babett Kundsen) maintains a much more even keel and is the glue that holds her family together.
The director, Susanne Bier, said the movie is about lies and just how easily we tell them even to those we love the most. That seems particularly true for Jorgen. However, as you watch events unfold, and before you judge him too harshly, remember that we are only seeing a brief time in his life. A time during which he has convinced himself that the ends do justify the means. Then ask yourself, could you, would you, do things differently?Grade: B+
04/01/2007 - Bob Stanza