Sunday, November 10, 2019

After the Wedding (2019)

Billy Crudup's IMDB bio commences by noting his rigorous career choices. So what went wrong here? And what about Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams? What could possibly have made them imagine this would be worthy of their talents, other than the reputation of the original? (The director, it has to be said is Moore's hubby and she co-produced.) 

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw called it 'insufferable' and as a one word review this is as good as any. 

The story is structured around human constants: birth, marriage and death. So it really ought to feel universal and yet somehow what it screams  and I so hesitate to use this term  is white privilege. 

The Danish/Swedish original — which I haven't seen — was Academy Award nominated in 2007. The essential confrontation between two parents, one a lifelong idealist and escape artist and the other someone who has tried to have it all, including a successful career as both parent and entrepreneur, somehow strikes me as something that would make more sense within the dimensions and context of Scandinavian culture. 

The remake gender-flips these characters, as if this would ensure that the underlying conflicts are now even more interesting, yet this is completely undermined by translating the action to a very particular New York milieu. 

Luby gave up after about twenty minutes. I was pulled through to the conclusion perhaps solely because the dilemma at the heart of it has some telling personal relevance for me. 

But it's awful nonetheless. Julianne Moore's 'I don't want to die' scene serves as a reminder that we have entered the season of the not-quite-Oscar contenders. 

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