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After the Wedding


Stars: Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Billy Crudup, Abby Quinn, Will Chase

Director: Bart Freundlich

This film boasts three sublime leading performances, so why isn't it a sublime movie? Well, the script (written by the director) and its developments bristle with contrivance, while the characters' decisions are frustrating and at times bewildering.

There are twists and turns in the script, but you can guess them all.

The luminous Williams plays a charity worker in India who journeys to New York to approach a lady tycoon (Moore) - she owns a 'media placement company' - hoping for a sizeable donation for the orphanage she helps to run. She arrives in the Big Apple to find that Moore's daughter (Quinn) is about to marry. Invited to the wedding, Williams instantly recognises the bride's father (Crudup) as her boyfriend of 20 years earlier, when they gave their baby away for adoption.

So what does Williams want to do about all this? Shouldn't she just turn around and go back to India? Ah, but then we wouldn't have a film. and, besides, it doesn't take a genius to realise that pill-popping Moore is a sick woman.

There's a lot of generally unreasonable shouting in the rest of this, and it's safe to day that none of the protagonists handles the situation well.

And how Crudup could really fail to know that his wife is dying is just one of the improbabilities that wear our patience thin and go some way to undercutting the power of the performances.

Ah, but the acting. The acting is something else. Williams and Crudup are never less than sympathetic, even when the script renders their reactions odd, while Moore, the wife of the director and dying yet again on film, has some of the best lines. 'I didn't want anything to change!' she cries, explaining her secrecy. And she has a heartbreaking final scene when she finally breaks down to confess her dread of impending death.

David Quinlan

Canada/India/USA 2019. UK Distributor: Vertigo. Colour by efilm.
109 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 28 Oct 2019