A review of “After the Wedding” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ***

Rating: R for nudity and language. In Hindi and Danish with English subtitles

Run Time: 1 hour, 59 minutes

 

 

Danish helmer Susanne Bier (“Brothers”) continues to turn up the heat in this emotional weeper that tackles hidden motives with embroidered enthusiasm.

Jacob Peterson (“Casino Royale” villain Mads Mikkelsen) is one of the good guys – having foregone queen and country to run a struggling, cash-strapped orphanage in one of the poorest regions of Bombay.

Summoned home to Copenhagen to meet with a wealthy entrepreneur (Rolf Lassgard as Jorgen) who may be offering a very large donation, Jacob reluctantly sets aside his anxiety over leaving the children and his dislike for the corporate rich and makes the trip.

And finds himself in the center of a kinetic storm when he attends a family wedding and comes face-to-face with a familiar visage: Jorgen’s beautiful wife Helene (Sidse Babett Knudsen) with whom he shared a mercurial past.

What transpires is an outbreak of closeted skeletons forced to come out to play. Jacob the saint is actually damaged goods as are all involved in this stagy roundelay. Extreme close-ups suggest a beguiling intimacy while layer upon layer of deceit is exposed soap-opera style.

Bier and writer Anders Thomas Jensen are a crack team, softening sharp edges and decades of pent-up rage with smart words and handsome drama that reveals depth beneath its polished veneer. Sentimental histrionics are reined in at the eleventh hour.

Personal and intricate, and worth a night out.