After the Wedding Movie Ending Explained (In Detail)

Spoilers Alert:

For the remake of the Scandinavian Oscar drama AFTER THE WEDDING Director Bart Freundlich swaps roles. This time it is the women of the families who fall into the clutches of a mysterious, twist-filled plot. We’ll tell you more about this in our review.

After the wedding: The bride and groom with their wedding guests.

The plot summary

Development worker Isabel (Michelle Williams) fights day and night for the poorest of the poor. Nevertheless, the orphanage she oversees in Calcutta is on the verge of closure. Isabel surprisingly finds a generous donor in the rich Theresa (Julianne Moore). The only condition: The two women should get to know each other in person in Theresa’s hometown of New York. For Isabel, this is a big sacrifice, but one she is willing to make for her life’s work. But in the US metropolis everything turns out differently. There she bursts into the wedding preparations of 21-year-old Grace (Abby Quinn), Theresa’s daughter. Theresa herself, in particular, insists that Isabel stay and attend the celebrations. But the longer she thinks about the situation and recapitulates her own life, the more Isabel realizes that she didn’t get to this place by chance. The revelation of a secret that Isabel had hoped to keep forever is about to be revealed…

After the Wedding Movie Meaning & ending

For the Danish director and screenwriter Susanne Bier (“Serena”), the family drama “After the Wedding” has a very special significance: at the 2007 Oscars, her film competed in the “Best Foreign Language Production” category, but had to be defeated by the German representative “ The Lives of Others” admit defeat. Nevertheless, the story about a man who is confronted with his past during a fundraising trip finally gave her the attention she needed as a director. Today the filmmaker is an integral part of the international film and series business and stages such successful productions as “Bird Box” for the streaming service Netflix or the award-winning series “The Night Manager”. A new edition of “After the Wedding” is also an option; the themes discussed therein are timeless. Nevertheless, director Bart Freundlich (“Wolves”) goes one step further for his remake and reverses the (gender) roles. This time it’s not the men but the women who are in the foreground. And anyone who knows the original knows that the tonality shifts by a very crucial nuance.

The bride’s happy parents: Oscar (Billy Crudup) and Theresa (Julianne Moore).

At this point we don’t want to reveal what’s behind Isabel’s long-kept secret. Bart Freundlich, who is also responsible for the script, relies too heavily on the aha effect when it is revealed. But unlike in the original, a very crucial factor – both in terms of staging and narrative – is omitted: Isabel clearly knows that the main character played by Mads Mikkelsen in “After the Wedding” was still completely clueless, which meant that the almost surreal tension was quickly transferred to the audience faster, what is actually being played here. Bart Freundlich had to accept this new approach when he decided to tell his story from the female perspective. At the same time, he still manages to keep the audience in a state of suspense for as long as possible – assuming, of course, that they don’t know the original. The course of the story is largely identical (except that the generous Theresa doesn’t live in Denmark, but in the USA), although he takes the liberty of shifting accents with every single twist in the story, giving “After the Wedding” its very own stamp to press on. In comparison to the original, he not only varies how the individual characters relate to each other, but also how their fates develop over the course of the film. This makes the film an experience even for a knowledgeable audience, even if the strong actors are not enough to justify a visit to the cinema.

The two actors Michelle Williams (“Manchester by the Sea”) and Julianne Moore (“Still Alice – My Life Without Yesterday”) slip into the roles of the protagonists, with Bart Freundlich, who is also responsible for the script, taking on the roles of the suffering ladies written on his body. Suffering because the characters demand it: Isabel, the thoughtful one, who is forced to come to terms with her past by visiting the USA, and Theresa, who, at the latest in the finale, delivers a similarly spectacular performance to Rolf Lassgård in the original – one Performance that left you in your bones and is no less thrilling here. Among the male actors, “Watchman” star Billy Crudup stands out. In the role of Theresa’s husband Oscar in “After the Wedding” he sometimes seems like a haven of calm, with something seething beneath his facade. Here he even outshines Sidse Babett Knudsen from “After the Wedding”, who is sometimes a little too hysterical.

Conclusion: “After the Wedding” is a completely successful new edition of the Danish drama “After the Wedding”, especially because of the strong leading actresses, which is just as convincing as the original with its many unique approaches.

“After the Wedding” can be seen in selected USA cinemas from October 17th.

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