Sundance 2019: After The Wedding

Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore appear in After The Wedding by Bart Freundlich, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. Photo by Julio Macat, ASC.

After The Wedding features a breakout performance from actress Abby Quinn while exploring how a family reacts following a bombshell announcement.

We first meet Isabel (Michelle Williams) where she runs the Home of Living Care orphanage in Calcutta.  She’s hesitant to leave these children but the only way to get funding means having to travel to New York.  It’s been well over twenty years since Isabel last stepped foot in New York City.  While she has her reasons for staying away, she has to go if she wants to get this major donation.

The potential donor happens to be none other than Horizon Media founder Theresa Young (Julianne Moore).  Theresa’s people have set up Isabel in a fancy penthouse with her own driver and phone.  Yet Isabel still can’t help but feel some guilt about being away from the children at the orphanage.  Meanwhile, Theresa and her artist husband, Oscar Carlson (Billy Crudup), just happen to be planning their daughter’s wedding that weekend.  Of course, if Isabel wants the money, she’s going to have to pay witness to Grace (Abby Quinn) tying the knot with Jonathan (Alex Escola).  She doesn’t have much of a choice.  In addition to Grace, Theresa and Oscar are parents to a set of twin boys, Theo and Otto.

Things get rather interesting at the wedding.  Nobody will be the same after the wedding no matter how any of it gets spinned.  We just go along with the flow by watching things play out as they may with the awkward tension in the room.

The framing of this film lends every opportunity to remind us how rich Theresa is.  Whether it’s Isabel taking her heels off before storming down the stairs or the pan outs to show us how secluded the Oyster Bay mansion, there is never a missed opportunity.  Honestly, it’s just another reminder of how Theresa has things better than Isabel currently does.  With $10 million on the line, Isabel puts up with everything until the moment that the paperwork gets signed.

Where Susanne Bier’s original Oscar-nominated film contained two male leads, Bart Freundlich’s script changes things up.  It’s really for the best that the film has two female leads.  Both Moore and Williams duke it out against each other and I am here for it!

One of my favorite things about Landline in 2017 was Abby Quinn.  Let me tell you, she does not disappoint.  She manages to hold her own against the likes of both Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams.  While her role as Grace is more of a supporting performance, I would love to see her take on a bigger challenge in a leading role.

Mixing it up between comedy and drama, After the Wedding examines human relationships by way of a layered story.

CAST:  Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Billy Crudup, Abby Quinn, and Alex Escola

After the Wedding held its world premiere during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in the Premieres program. Grade 4/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.