Rated PG-13. Opens Friday at the Embarcadero Center Cinema.
Bart Freundlich’s After the Wedding is a remake of Susanne Bier’s 2006 Danish film, but it more often plays like a limited television series edited down to feature length. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it features Michelle Williams fresh off of being one of the high points of one of the best limited series of 2019, Fosse/Verdon. While running an orphanage in Calcutta, Isabel (Williams) reluctantly travels to New York to receive a $2M donation from mysterious benefactor Theresa (Julianne Moore). While in the States, Isabel gets deeply involved in Theresa’s familial drama, much of it involving Theresa’s husband Oscar (Billy Crudup) and the revelations that follow the wedding of their daughter Grace (Abby Quinn). Though heavy-handed at times—you’d best believe a nest with broken eggs symbolizes what you think it does—the picture moves along at a breakneck pace. Freundlich zooms through time past specific incidents to get to the aftermath of said incidents, what happens after the wedding necessarily being more important than the wedding itself in After the Wedding. And while Williams’ ability to express sublimated pain is second to none, right up to the kick-in-the-teeth denouement, it’s also possible that producer Julianne Moore and her spouse Freundlich reverse-engineered it from Moore’s uncanny imitation of slurred drunkspeak. She’s that good.