Saturday, December 29, 2007

Wedding Reception

Since I've been on such a streak of amazing films, why stop now? For your consideration, I give you Susanne Bier's Danish film After the Wedding, yet another masterpiece complicating my finalization of a list of the best of the year. First, let me say that this film has a great trailer. It gives nothing away. The film is nothing like what you expect. Actually, I didn't know what to expect, but I got something wonderful.

I really can't discuss the plot at all, because everything is such a surprise that I don't want to spoil anything. The main character is Jacob, played brilliantly by Mads Mikkelsen, who is Danish but currently living in India doing missionary-type work (of the non-religious variety) at an orphanage. The place needs money, and the rich guy offering them money demands that Jacob come to Denmark and meet him in person. The rich guy is Jorgen (Rolf Lassgard), and once Jacob is there, he insists that Jacob stay for his daughter's wedding the next day. They'll talk business later. And then plot twists ensue.

I honestly don't know how to talk about this film without ruining the story, because the story affected me so much. Instead, let me talk about the filmmaking. I love seeing women filmmakers, and Susanne Bier is such a sensitive, intuitive director. She also developed the story. The cinematography is gorgeous. I want to be in Europe, like, right now. And the acting is just amazing. Mikkelsen, Lassgard, and Stine Fischer Christensen (who plays the daughter/bride Anna) deliver powerful, subtle (yes, powerful and subtle), complex performances.

After the Wedding simultaneously touched and broke my heart. That's quite a feat.

Rating: ***** (out of 5)

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