Despite the obvious star power, this one is a complete, implausible bore.
Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore are two of the finest actresses in Hollywood, yet given such artificial material to work with, even they can't rise above.
In "After the Wedding," Williams stars as Isabel, a selfless orphanage worker in Calcutta, who is sent to New York City to meet with a potential multi-million-dollar donor, Theresa (Moore). Isabel seems to have been singled out by the mysterious socialite for reasons that are eventually revealed in the film, but that cannot be revealed here (or as to spoil the story). Isabel is invited to the wedding of Theresa's daughter, where she also gets to meet Theresa's husband Oscar (Billy Crudup), a man that she doesn't seem all that happy to run in to.
Yes, this is a tough movie to review in that many of the issues I had with the film have to do with the manipulative and contrived plot... it would spoil the film's many twists and turns to go into detail, and there are several. This movie is based on the Oscar-nominated 2006 Danish film of the same name (translated), but makes some key changes to the original, namely swapping out the main protagonist's gender. There's no real reason to do so and many of the changes make the story work even less.
And while Williams gives another solid performance, Julianne Moore seems oddly flat. The film is directed by her real-life husband, Bart Freundlich (Moore also co-produced), but the material is beneath her...in fact, the script keeps even the faintest sign of energy from ever seeing the light of day.
Dripping with melodrama, "After the Wedding" doesn't quite work on any level, and the twists constantly make you realize that you are watching a movie: Actual people in the real world would never do many of the things that these paper-thin characters find themselves doing, making decisions that seem cruel at best, and disingenuous at worst.
Run Time: 1 hour 52 minutes.
Starring: Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup, Will Chase, Abby Quinn.
Directed by Bart Freundlich ("Wolves," "The Rebound," "Trust the Man").
"After the Wedding" is in theaters on Friday, August 30th, 2019.
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