“After the Wedding”

After The Wedding

By Jae-Ha Kim
Amazon.com
June 9, 2007

Equal parts weepy drama and soap opera, After the Wedding is a beautifully filmed story centering on Jacob (Mads Mikkelsen, Casino Royale), a Danish man working at a orphanage in Bombay.   Just when funds have run desperately low, Jorgen (Rolf Lassgård)–a wealthy benefactor–promises to donate millions of dollars to the orphanage. But there’s a catch. Jacob must collect the funds himself in Copenhagen… and attend the wedding of the eccentric millionaire’s daughter.

But once Jacob meets the benefactor’s wife Helene (played by a radiant Sidse Babett Knudsen), it’s obvious to the viewer that the two have a complicated history. It’s also likely that her daughter Anna (Stine Fischer Christensen) most probably is theirs.

So why did Jorgen invite Jacob to Anna’s wedding? Does he know Jacob is Anna’s father? Is something nefarious in the works?

The thought-provoking film was Denmark’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2007 Academy Awards. Subtitled in English, the Danish picture is well helmed by director Susanne Bier (Brothers), who manages to keep the film from delving into over the top histrionics.

Mikkelsen is particularly good, whether he’s channeling his anger at having been shut out of his maybe-daughter’s life for the past 20 years, or having to grovel a bit to get Jorgen to donate the funds as promised to his orphanage.          The relationships here are messy and often uncomfortable. But they also ring true to life.

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