Growing up with teleseryes (television series) in the Philippines, we’ve grown so accustomed to the usual drama of families being broken by third parties or a husband’s second family, illegitimate children ending up being oppressed, and a whole lot of twists and turns in the script that would pit leading ladies against one another. With this at the back of my mind, watching After the Wedding‘s trailer had me speculating that this is another present vs. past wife drama. However, my first impressions didn’t last as the movie posed a promising (albeit somehow dragging) twist after the first hour.
Two women’s fate are intertwined and the path they are treading soon leads to unexpected revelations with irreversible consequences in After the Wedding, starring Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Billy Crudup and Abby Quinn.
Watch the trailer here:
A poignant drama with a powerhouse, female-led cast, After the Wedding tells the story of Isabel (played by Williams), who’s running an orphanage in Calcutta, India despite facing a potential suspension due to dwindling funds. Soon enough, a potential donor comes knocking at their door, philanthropist Theresa Young (Moore) – the new wife of her ex-husband, who insists that Isabel travels to New York to deliver a presentation for her orphanage.
Arriving in New York, Isabel finds herself uncomfortable in the presence of the orphanage’s possible benefactor. Theresa welcomes her from the glittering skyscraper where she runs her business. While Isabel thinks she’ll soon be returning to her beloved orphanage after the meeting, Theresa presents her other plans. She insists Isabel attend her daughter’s wedding at the family’s estate. The joyful event then becomes a catalyst for a revelation that upends the lives of both women, and the people who love them most.
Based on the Academy Award-nominated film by Susanne Bier, producer Joel Michaels and director Bart Freundlich immediately addressed a critical aspect of the adaptation – Bier’s film had two male leads. But for his adaptation, the director went for gender-reverse casting. Michaels felt that the film would work significantly better with the leads being played by two powerful actresses. Freundlich took a beat, and then whole-heartedly agreed with Michaels that between the dearth of significant, multifaceted leading roles for women, and the country’s current climate regarding power dynamics and gender, the switch made the story more current. Freundlich got to work adapting the script.
The team behind the movie made a great choice of casting both Williams and Moore in this film. Their appearances create a very striking difference between them, making their social status and beliefs more evident without them needing to say a word. Moore’s emotions (especially her cry somewhere within the film) are also very effective at tugging anyone’s heartstrings!
Although the story seemed dragging in the first half, there are scenes that seemed to be cut short albeit posing a good opportunity for character development. Williams also seemed to maintain a poker face throughout the 2-hour film – no matter how heavy the dialogues are, which gave us an uneasy feeling.
We honestly wouldn’t watch it again if given the chance. It feels long enough for one sitting. However, if you love watching drama and if you’re tired of watching typical Filipino family drama seryes, we recommend you to try watching After the Wedding in cinemas starting August 14! It may be far from being a perfect movie, but it’s definitely a breath of fresh air from what we can watch locally.
If you’re looking for some action-packed scenes somewhere in between or a murder-type of twist, we recommend that you watch something else instead. This one’s far from that plot twist!