After the Wedding Parent Guide
After a suspenseful, edgy start, the film devolves into made-for-TV emotional soup.
Parent Movie Review
Isabel (Michelle Williams) works at an orphanage in India, meditating with the children, soothing the more traumatized orphans, and distributing food to youngsters in the poorest neighborhoods. Her life is rich in meaning and personal satisfaction. Then she is informed that a wealthy American is considering a two million dollar donation to the orphanage, but Isabel must travel to the US to discuss the donation in person. When Isabel arrives in New York City, she meets high flying entrepreneur Theresa (Julianne Moore), who is so busy with her daughter’s impending wedding that she invites Isabel to the festivities so they can get to know each better. But when Isabel arrives for the happy event, she gets way more than she bargained for…
Normally, I would say the wedding is where the plot thickens because that’s where the real story unfolds. But, in this film, the wedding is where the movie begins to fray. The early portion of the film has an ominous feel that effectively communicates tension and uncertainty. But after the wedding, as the central intrigue of the plot is revealed, the film goes from being a taut, suspenseful film with a potentially dangerous edge to something that feels like made-for-TV emotional soup.
The weaknesses in the story are unfortunate because the production boasts a solid cast, particularly its lead female stars. Michelle Williams shines in her portrayal of the self-contained Isabel, Julianne Moore excels as the passionate, controlling Theresa, and Abby Quinn brings young adulthood to vibrant life in her role as Grace, the young bride. Their performances are what make the movie worth watching.
Potential audiences for After the Wedding will be relieved by the virtual absence of serious violence or sexual content. The biggest concerns parents will have center around profanity and alcohol consumption. Unusually for a PG-13 film, After the Wedding contains two sexual expletives: it may have escaped an R rating because there are relatively few other profanities. As for alcohol, it appears frequently in the movie. Almost all characters imbibe in social settings and main characters drink to excess in emotionally difficult situations.
Despite these negative content issues, parents will be pleased with the positive messages delivered in the movie. The importance of family; the strength that comes from the bonds between spouses and between parents and children are evident. The need for honesty, for acknowledging mistakes and taking ownership of one’s decisions are also made crystal clear in the story. It’s too bad these messages aren’t married to a more plausible plot.Directed by Bart Freundlich. Starring Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore, and Billy Crudup.. Running time: 110 minutes. Theatrical release August 29, 2019. Updated August 29, 2019
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After the Wedding
Rating & Content Info
Why is After the Wedding rated PG-13? After the Wedding is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for thematic material and some strong language
Violence: There is no violence in the film; a few characters raise their voices on a couple of occasions. A woman bullies her employee. Children mention killing in a video game. A child gets into a fight with other children who tease him for bedwetting.
Sexual Content: No sexual activity in the movie. Mention of a child born out of wedlock. A man hugs and kisses his fiancée. Parents hug their daughter. A woman is shown in the bathtub but only her feet and shoulders are visible. Her husband jumps into the tub, fully clothed, and embraces her. There is a mention of child prostitution in the context of alleviating poverty. A man mentions being “horny” to his wife.
Profanity: There are just over a dozen profanities in this movie including six terms of deity, four scatological words, one term of deity, and two sexual expletives.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There are frequent scenes of social drinking. Characters sometimes get drunk to deal with stress. A main character takes appropriate prescription medication on several occasions. A person mentions suicide.
Page last updated August 29, 2019
After the Wedding Parents' Guide
What do you think of Theresa’s behavior? Do you think she is caring or controlling? Planning ahead or manipulating and micromanaging others? What do you think you would do in her place?
What do you think of Isabel’s choice? Would you have made the same decision?
Are you interested in helping orphans in India and other countries? There are ways to help by donating cash or time.
Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity provides opportunities to work with the poor throughout the world.
Homes of Hope India is a charity that builds orphanages and provides education for girls in India.
Miracle Foundation provides care for orphans around the world and builds community systems to help find homes and families for the children.
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Isabel is not alone in finding meaning helping the poor in India. The City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre tells the story of an American doctor who finds peace helping the poor in Calcutta (now known as Kolkata).
Hope in Hell: Inside the World of Doctors Without Borders takes readers along with the volunteers who risk their lives providing medical care to people in some of the most dangerous parts of the world. Writer Dan Bortolotti gives a moving look at Doctors Without Borders, known as Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) which was founded in 1971 by French doctors who were determined to offer medical care to everyone in need, even those in war zones or territories where they were forbidden entry. Damien Brown gives a first-person account of his work with MSF in Band-Aid for a Broken Leg” Being a Doctor with No Borders (and Other Ways to Stay Single).
The Orphan Keeper by Camron Wright is a heart-wrenching novel about a seven year old boy who is kidnapped from his village, sold to a children’s home, and eventually adopted by an American family. But he never forgets his family in India.
Related home video titles:
Lion begins with a young boy, inadvertently separated from his family lost in the vastness of India. Adopted by a loving Australian family, he returns years later to India to find his birth family.
Set in the poorest parts of Mumbai, Slumdog Millionaire is the story of a young man who strikes it rich on a game show, only to be suspected of cheating.
Mother Teresa tells the inspiring story of a nun who felt called to minister to the poorest of the poor in India and who initiated a worldwide sisterhood devoted to the same calling.
Philomena is based on the true story of a woman who searches for the child she unwillingly gave up for adoption decades ago.