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April 2007

AFTER THE WEDDING

By Kam Williams

AFTER THE WEDDING

 

Distributor: IFC Films
Director: Susanne Bier
Screenwriter: Susanne Bier, Anders Thomas Jensen
Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Rolf Lassgard, Stine Fischer Christensen, Mona Malm, Christian Tafdrup, Niels Anders Thorn

Unrated
In Danish, Swedish, Hindi and English
Running time: 119 minutes


   

Shocking Skeletons Burst Out of the Closet in Oscar-Nominated Drama from Denmark

Jacob (Mads Mikkelsen), a Danish expatriate, is dedicated to his job working with children at a fledgling orphanage in India. So, he finds himself on the horns of a dilemma when a mysterious rich benefactor (Rolf Lassgard) makes a generous offer of assistance, but with strings attached. This stranger named Jorgen pledges $4,000,000 to the struggling charity, only asking in return that Jacob come to Copenhagen to attend the wedding of the businessman’s daughter, Anna (Stine Fischer Christensen).

After consulting with his boss, and assuring the kids that he will return, Jacob sets out for his homeland, though clearly with mixed feelings. Upon his arrival, he soon sees that Jorgen’s wife is, Helene (Sidse Babett Knudsen), an ex-girlfriend he hasn’t seen in about twenty years. And as if that isn’t enough of a shock, he next learns the devastating news that the blushing bride-to-be is the long-lost daughter he never knew he had. The daunting disclosure places Jacob in an unanticipated predicament, whether to return to his expectant, doubting orphans in Mumbai right after the nuptials as promised, or to remain in Denmark to share some quality time with his own flesh and blood, a girl who has heretofore been half-orphaned herself. This quandary underpins the premise of After the Wedding, a deceptively-sophisticated soap opera directed by Susanne Bier.

The movie was nominated for the Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language
Film category, a well-deserved accolade for its dealing with baby-daddy drama in a way which puts relatively-flip Hollywood fare to shame. A paradoxical, if ultimately plausible portrait of a fractured family whose emotions can not be contained when the skeletons finally come bursting out of the closet.