So often watching movies becomes a trial by association. We watch the final girl in a slasher film run upstairs instead of out the door and experience both terror and frustration over her bad decision. We watch a recovering alcoholic dive back into his disease and feel helpless. We watch Tony Soprano kick the shit out of his driver and get angry. There are hard choices to be made and we, in a classical narrative, must have sympathy/empathy for these individuals in order for the film to be successful.
What is so refreshing about After the Wedding is that it is about good people making good decisions. It’s about a family undergoing several difficult trials, but sticking together and supporting each other through it all (with the help of the hauntingly sympathetic “Untitled #1” by Sigur Ros). Characters are redefined and responsibilities shifted, but people step up and make it through. Difficult obstacles are placed before these people, but we are sure that whatever they choose to do, it will be one, among many, of the right things to do.
Because of this positive representation of almost everyone (with the blaring exception of one nefarious sort of individual) there is a trust between audience and filmmaker. We are ready to be fully emotionally involved in the film, which is why when outbursts happen they seem totally justifiable and, even, immitatable. Especially with the full range of emotions represented that are realistically manic. (For example a quick cut from a dance to “It’s Raining Men” to a breakdown to “Untitled #1.”)
Minimally stylistic with fragmented extreme close-ups, After the Wedding is a beautiful film experience. Focusing on details of each, very different, landscape (India v. Denmark) characters come to belong in their environments in a way that makes everything…ok. In a world with people this caring, everything will be ok.