After The Wedding

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Year: 2006

Writer: Anders Thomas Jensen (screenplay) & Susanne Bier (story)

Director: Susanne Bier

Budget: ?

Gross: $8 866 905 (worldwide)

After The Wedding wastes no time getting you emotionally involved.  the movie begins with images of india and slums and children gathering around a truck as a man (who we come to know as jacob) hands out bowls of food to all the outstretched hands.  then he drives back to the small orphanage/school with one of the kids that had been helping him feed.  this is followed by jacob being told by the head of the school that he is to go to copenhagen to shake hands and finalize the deal with some wealthy business man who is going to give the school the money without which they would have to shut their doors causing the kids to end up on the street. 

the music is orchestric and somber and it almost feels like the end of a movie.  like we have spent the film watching this man build this school and fallen in love with the kids and now he must go ask for help to save his dream.  you almost want to break out the kleenex and you aren't even 15 minutes into the film.

although that is how it begins, the movie is about much more then jacobs quest to get the money to save the school when he runs into someone from his past and things change (wow, that sounds like a bad voice-over to a trailer doesn't it?). 

while there is much about the general story, or at least the way it begins, that seems tried and true, the film really impresses with how it develops.  not all the characters are easy to pin down right away, especially jorgen(the wealthy man who jacob has gone to meet in copenhagen).  the characters and performances have some actual depth to them.  even jacob, who i did find a little stiff, has emotions going on beneath that placid facade.

the tagline to the film is: champagne is poured.... secrets are spilled, and while it is catchy it is also a little misleading.  or at least to me it would have been had i read that before watching the movie.  yes, the wedding is where the secret is revealed, but it isn't as huge a secret as one might expect with a tagline like that, ya know?  i mean, with a tagline like that you would think that the bride would reveal that she killed her last husband or the father would admit to having sired both the bride and the groom.

maybe i have just watched to many movies, but the secret here is much tamer then that, and that is what i found so interesting about the film.  because it isn't some big oh my god secret, it allows us to really put ourselves in the shoes of the characters.  to think about how we would react if we were on any given side of the secret.  and again, the film shows us those sides with real human emotion which is only helped by the great acting, writing, directing and cinematography: the hand held camera work, lots of natural light (bier had been a part of the dogme 95 movement and had done one dogme film which is evident in this one) and the use of close-ups of faces, lips, eyes, hands, etc.... 

After The Wedding was nominated for a best foreign language film oscar two years ago but lost to The Lives Of Others.  given that The Lives Of Others was an incredible film now you have two movies you should see, if you haven't already.