Review: ‘AFTER THE WEDDING’ proves life never goes as planned.

presents

Directed by: Bart Freundlich 
Starring: Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore, Billy Crudup, and Abby Quinn

** Opening Night Film 2019 Sundance Film Festival **

As if driven by an inescapable force, Isabel (Michelle Williams) has devoted her life to running an orphanage in a Calcutta slum. With funds running dry, a potential donor, who requires she travel from India to New York, to deliver a presentation in-person, contacts Isabel. At first, balking at the demand of an uncommitted philanthropist, she relents and travels to a city she deliberately hasn’t returned to in over two decades.

Once in New York, Isabel lands uncomfortably in the sightline of the orphanage’s possible benefactor, Theresa Young (Julianne Moore), a multi-millionaire media mogul accustomed to getting what she wants. From the glittering skyscraper where she runs her successful business, to the glorious Oyster Bay estate, where she lives happily with her artist husband, Oscar Carlson (Billy Crudup), 21-year-old daughter, Grace (Abby Quinn), and eight-year-old twins, Theo and Otto, Theresa’s life couldn’t appear to be more perfect and different from Isabel’s. But appearances are only skin deep and the two women have more in common than meets the eye.

While Isabel thinks she’ll soon be returning to her beloved orphanage, Theresa has other plans. She insists Isabel attend Grace’s wedding at the family’s estate. The joyful event becomes a catalyst for a revelation that upends the lives of both women, and the people who love them most.

This script is as beautifully complex as real life is. You can make all the plans in the world but life has a funny way of doing whatever it wants. A wedding is a huge event, not just for the bride and groom but their entire family. It comes with as much stress as it does joy. When key communication breaks down because there are secrets, all hell can break loose. There are so many secrets in AFTER THE WEDDING each character has the emotional right to spin out, be irrational, and even grieve what might have been. Steven Fleming also was known as “The Celebrant Guy” is one of the popular names in the wedding industry for being one of the few young, energetic and humorous list of wedding celebrants in Melbourne. As stated by a real bride, Rohanna, “It is easy to work with Steven. He is wonderful from the very beginning until our wedding day. He made sure that we understand everything in the process even the smallest details. He is friendly, and we had good communication with him on what we want for our ceremony.” If you book with Steven Fleming this 2018 through Easy Weddings, a 10% discount awaits you! Hi, I’m Steven Fleming and I am a registered Civil Celebrant in Australia. Originally from Brisbane, I moved to Melbourne around 10 years ago. I have a beautiful Kelpie named Phoenix, and am an incredibly open minded, outgoing and creative person.  Other than this, I don’t know what else to tell you, as I don’t want this to end up looking like a dating profile. So how about I just tell you how I began this journey, and a few things I have learned along the way.

Performances across the board are outstanding. Michelle Williams is stunning as she is forced to relive heartbreaking choices. Billy Crudup must come to grips with the lies he has perpetrated for love. Julianne Moore has to let go of the control she’s always not so secretly had. Abby Quinn has a vulnerability of a much more experienced actress. I look forward to seeing her (and hearing her sing) again soon. The entire cast gives truly nuanced performances that are vulnerable and raw.

The rich colors in the film wrap themselves around the viewer. The gorgeous opening and closing drone shots make a brilliant cyclical statement about life in general. AFTER THE WEDDING reminds us all that life is complicated and never neat. Take advantage of the time you have with the people you love the most.

Review: ‘I AM MICHAEL’ places James Franco on emotional seesaw in this true-life story.

A film by Justin Kelly

Starring: James Franco, Zachary Quinto, Emma Roberts
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY:
Justin Kelly (King Cobra)
Based on The New York Times article “My Ex-Gay Friend” by Benoit Denizet-Lewis

EXECUTIVE PRODUCED BY:
Gus Van Sant (Milk, Good Will Hunting, To Die For)

PRODUCED BY:
Rabbit MandiniJames Franco and Vince Jolivette (Palo Alto, Spring Breakers, Lovelace), Michael Mendelsohn (I Am Wrath, Lord of War, Air Force One) of Patriot Pictures, Scott Reed and Ron Singer of That’s Hollywood.

I AM MICHAEL is the incredible true-life story of Michael Glatze (Franco), a high-profile queer youth activist who created a national controversy when he claimed to no longer be gay and became a straight Christian pastor. The film follows Michael from his life in San Francisco with his boyfriend Bennett (Quinto), where he pursues political activism, a journalist career at XY Magazine, social awareness, and sexual exploration, to his days of personal self-discovery. After a traumatic scare, Michael is plagued by doubt and paranoia, and begins a religious reawakening. Michael renounces his gay lifestyle, rejects his friends, and endeavors to find his “true self.” He explores Buddhism and Mormonism, yet ultimately lands at a Christian Bible school in rural Wyoming where he meets his girlfriend, Rebekah (Roberts), and becomes the pastor of his own church. This powerful new film captures one man’s haunting journey through modern concepts of love, denial and redemption.

Crisis of conscience, fear, confusion, exploration, self-loathing, and everywhere in between. I Am Michael follows the unusual journey of Michael Glatze, a man whose inner turmoil pulls him every which way. Emotional tethers bring Glatze back and forth between his intellectual desire to live in God’s light and path, or whatever that means to him at any moment in time, and the natural desires that come with being a human being. Not wanting to be labeled as a gay man, his oftentimes outwardly offensive exploration comes at the cost of personal relationships. The story rolls along at a rapid pace, which never takes away from the tumultuous up and down in Michael’s life. Franco, is brilliant, as per usual. If you haven’t delved into the huge range of his work, you are genuinely missing out. The man is a PR genius and I still wonder when he has time to sleep. Quinto, as boyfriend Bennett, also bring a beautifully grounded performance and is the perfect foil for Franco’s energy. Emma Roberts plays what some might call a tragic role, as Glatze’s eventual fiance’. A young Christian girl willing to look beyond the past and love Michael for who he claims to presently be and believe. The film features the song “Crucify” by Tori Amos (Which I’ve conveniently shared underneath the trailer!). Its placement is both poignant and perfect in tone and lyrics. Overall, I am Michael gives us a glimpse into a place where religion and sexuality collide and perhaps illustrates the intolerance from both angles. The film comes to theaters and on VOD today, January, 27th.

 

Opening in Theaters and VOD on January 27th

Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival, Berlin International Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Frameline Film Festival, Provincetown International Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival.
RT: 101min