After the Wedding (4 stars)

(15) 123min

There is a Polish proverb which states that ‘the woman cries before her wedding and the man after’. One man who is certainly crying after a wedding (even though it is not his own) is Jacob (Mads Mikkelsen). A strange series of events have brought him from a street orphanage in India where he works as an aid worker back to his homeland of Denmark. He is looking for funding from multi millionaire businessman Jørgen (Rolf Lassgârd). But Jørgen is a gregarious pontificator and before he helps the orphanage he insists that Jacob attends his daughter’s wedding. What Jacob discovers at the wedding about his own past is to affect his life, and that of his hosts in an unimaginable way.

God bless the Danes, with their crazy film movements and gift for highly watchable low budget cinema. Ex Dogme duo Suzanne Bier and writer Anders Thomas Jensen reunite for the third time after the giddy heights of 2002’s Open Hearts and 2004’s Brothers to create a familial drama of almost soap opera proportion. This tale of secrets and lies is a good old fashioned tearjerker, one that questions the idea of the extendable family unit, grief, legacy and, most intriguingly, the transmogrification of two good but very different and flawed men into one better one. It’s not perfect; the film is too long and a little obvious in places and the big reveal feels oddly placed in the first third of the film, but it is clever and funny and acted with a conviction that is often undermined by the mildly hysterical script. Don’t be misled; this melodrama is not on a par with Fassbinder or Sirk’s greater works, but it is a film with a heart, a brain and a whole load of soul.

After the Wedding (Efter Bryllupet)

  • 4 stars
  • 2006
  • Denmark
  • 2h 2min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Susanne Bier
  • Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Rolf Lassgârd

Charity worker Jacob (Mikkelsen) is coerced into attending a wedding by multi millionaire businessman Jørgen (Lassgârd) in return for funding. What Jacob discovers at the wedding about his own past affects his life and that of his hosts in a most unimaginable way, in this highly watchable low budget familial drama.