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Worlds colliding through the layers

You have to watch After the Wedding to really appreciate it. The underplayed 2019 film finally makes it to Reel Mondays on Feb. 24.
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1902 reel AFTER-THE-WEDDING
Theresa (Julianne Moore) is a wealthy New Yorker who entreats Isabel (Michelle Williams) to come from her orphanage in India to meet on her turf to discuss a hefty donation to the cause. Why she couldn't just send a cheque ends up being a series of story twists and emotional turns that makes After the Wedding one of the most interesting films ever to screen for the Reel Mondays series. It plays on Feb. 24 at the Arden.

REVIEW

After the Wedding

Stars: 4.0

Starring Michelle Williams, Billy Crudup, Abby Quinn, Alex Esola, and Julianne Moore

Written and directed by Bart Freundlich

Rated: PG for coarse language and substance use

Runtime: 112 minutes

Playing on Monday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. as part of the Reel Mondays film series, a fundraiser for the Friends of the St. Albert Public Library in support of the St. Albert Readers' Festival. Tickets are $15 each or $60 for the entire series of 5 films. Visit sapl.ca or call 780-459-1530 for more information.

It’s a deep reassurance that Reel Mondays is not entirely committed to screenings of soft, safe dramas like Learning to Drive or Late Night. Its upcoming title, After the Wedding, might lure you in with its premise of a wealthy benefactor offering substantial support to an orphanage in India, but don’t be lulled into thinking that that’s all there is to it. This film gives you approximately 30 minutes of security before it starts to throw every kind of wild twist and turn at you. Without spoiling anything, you should know to be ready for an interesting, emotional rollercoaster.

After the Wedding was the opening night film at Sundance in 2019 but went way under the radar after that though it deserves much more credit. We start in Kolkata where Isabel (Michelle Williams) is caring for dozens of children at an orphanage. The money is running out, which is why she has no choice but to fly to New York to meet with a wealthy benefactor-to-be, Theresa (Julianne Moore), at her behest. The two are worlds apart in their life experiences, but beware those twists to prove even that to be slightly off.

Just when you thought you’d be watching something soft and safe about two people broadening their horizons – the wealthy North American really learning what the rest of the world is like from a worldly, openhearted white transplant in the heart of India. This film has much more meat under its surface than simply that.

That’s where Oscar (Billy Crudup) and Grace (Abby Quinn) come in to mix things up like a food processor with the lid off. It’s tough to say any more without really spoiling things. Perhaps that’s why the film didn’t get more acclaim – it’s really tough to tell anyone else what it’s about. You have to see it for yourself. Much of the credit it does deserve here belongs wholly with Williams, an actor way overdue for a gold statuette. She does marvelously with roles requiring the subtleties of human emotion and long-buried feelings of trauma and regret. She alone makes the price of admission a pittance. Add to that the ever-watchable Moore and Crudup who make for what could otherwise be considered a star-studded indie pic just waiting to be discovered. The revelations waiting for the viewers are sure to make this one of the most interesting and well-made flicks to be screened at Reel Mondays.


Scott Hayes

About the Author: Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.
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