After the Wedding (Denmark - 2006) - Review

Language - Danish
Genre - Drama
Release - 2006

After The Wedding, Mads Mikkelsen, Danish Movie
After the Wedding - Release Poster
After the Wedding (Efter Brylluppet) is the critically acclaimed and popular Danish Drama from the acclaimed Scandinavian director Susanne Bier, released in 2006. The movie was nominated for the 2006 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, where it lost out to German classic, The Lives of Others.

Susanne Bier tasted Oscar success eventually for her 2010 Danish movie, 'In a Better World'. The film stars the well known Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, arguably the most well known Danish actor after Viggo Morgessen for the international audience. Apart from starring in major movies in Denmark, he has also been seen in popular English language movies such as Casino Royale, King Arthur and Clash of the titans. Jacob (Mads Mikkelsen) is a manager with a orphanage who'd dedicated his adult life to helping the street children in Mumbai, India. A broken heart during his youth, has made him determined never to return back to Copenhagen.

After the Wedding - Movie Still
The Wedding
The Orphanage, facing a threat of closure, has a lifeline in the form of a multi-million dollar donation by a Danish  businessman Jorgen (Rolf Lassgard). The donation however comes with the condition that Jacob must travel back to his home country Denmark for discussing their charity project with Jorgen. Jacob accepts reluctantly and upon reaching Denmark and meeting with Jorgen, he's asked to attend the wedding of Jorgen's young daughter. 

During the wedding ceremony, Jacob meets Helene, Jorgen's wife. They share some awkward moments as they know each other from before. Helene was the love of Jacob's life 20 years ago but broke up after Helene discovered that Jacob had cheated on her with her best friend. During the ceremony, as a toast to her parents, Anna reveals a secret that makes Jacob realize that there are secrets to his own past that he's unaware of, that might include a connection to the millionaire's family.

After The Wedding, Mads Mikkelsen
Jacob and Helene
What unfolds are a series of secrets which evokes the most powerful emotions from everyone involved. However, this is not a movie about mysteries but a powerful drama about human relationships. Apart from a very artful direction, where simple twitches of fingers, awkward silences, staring into sun-sets or stealing glances have tales to tell, the movie works because of the fine performance of the various cast members. Rolf Lassgård (as Jorgen), in particular, gives a standout performance as a no-nonsense, powerful businessman forced helpless by the circumstances. Mads Mikkelsen also gives a masterful performance where emotions are largely conveyed through slight changes in his rigid expression instead of emotional outbursts, captured by interesting close-ups by Susanne Bier. It is these aspects of After the Wedding that elevates it to being a powerful drama worthy of a Oscar nomination.