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Laramie Movie Scope:
After the Wedding

An incredibly powerful drama of idealism and charity,
involving a man who knows his quandary and the fact there's no way out

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by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
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(2006; Danish, English, and Hindi) An incredibly emotional, powerful drama of idealism and charity, involving a man who knows his quandary and the fact there's no way out (Is anyone really capable of this?) from filmmaker Susanne Bier.

A last-chance offer to save his orphanage from being shut down in India comes to Jacob Pedersen (Mads Mikkelsen), an ex-pat Dane, from Copenhagen. Unwillingly he tells his favorite child, Pramod, who will be eight years old, he must go away to Denmark but promises to be back in time for the boy's birthday.

The donor is a 48-year-old billionaire, Jørgen Hansson (Rolf Lassgård), creator of an empire of hotels, who has been married to Helene (Sidse Babett Knudsen) for twenty years; they have a pair of twin boys and a daughter, Anna (Stine Fischer Christensen), about to be married. Son-in-law-to-be Christian Refner picks up Jacob, bringing the guest to meet with Jørgen.

Jacob begins to tell of the million infants produced annually in Bombay from prostitutes and four to five times as many more children suffering from malnutrition, the enormous need for medicines, books, and food, showing a video he's made of the conditions he's desperately trying to overcome in his small orphanage. Appearing brusque and unconcerned with hearing or seeing more details, Jørgen tells Jacob he's considering contributing one million dollars annually for four years to the project, but he needs to give it some more thought.

In the meantime, he invites his guest to his daughter's wedding the next day. Arriving late just as the couple is making their vows, Jacob takes a seat in the back of the church; on Helene's face there passes a look of recognition.

Following Christian's effusive praise of his bride and her parents during the reception, Anna addresses the audience of well-wishers with an unusual declaration of love and appreciation for Jørgen, whom she has only recently learned was not her biological father.

Some twenty years earlier Jacob and Helene had been together in India; she left him, returning to Denmark after he, drinking and doing drugs, had cheated on her with her friend. "Is she my daughter?" Jacob asks. After telling her husband, Helene says to Jørgen: "It's too much of a coincidence."

Anna learns from her forthright parents, who try to explain efforts they'd made to locate Jacob years before without any success, that Jacob, whom they'd previously assured her had died, is her real father. Anna, sharing her feelings and an album of photographs from her childhood, meets with Jacob who says: "You're the only one who can't be blamed."

Resuming their negotiations for funding the orphanage, Jørgen tells an incredulous Jacob: "I didn't know you were that Jacob." Making the deal even sweeter - $12 million, which would provide for 65,000 children - Jørgen proposes the fund be named in honor of both Jacob and Anna, but a few more days will be necessary to complete the paperwork. Jacob, antsy to return to India and his promise to Pramod (whom he calls every other day), is reluctant to remain but needs the generous gift: "What do you get out of this?" Jørgen says, "Nothing."

However, he requests that Jacob get better acquainted with Anna and reacquainted with Helene while he takes his twins on a fishing trip to Sweden. Frustrated that Jørgen seems to be inexcusably dragging things out, Jacob demands of Helene: "What does he want?" Convincing him that she is just as much in the dark, Helene's feelings warm to friendship for her former lover. When Anna inquires as to how her mother felt about Jacob when they were together in India, Helene says she was in love but unhappy.

Upon his return, Jørgen ups the ante once more, promising Jacob that he and Anna will have 100% control over the fund, but an absolute condition is that he must remain in Denmark. Jørgen invites Jacob to his birthday party; Jacob has already had to call Pramod to apologize for missing the boy's birthday.

Jacob declares, "You can't buy me!" before walking out on Jørgen, who must run after the idealist with one final revelation: "For this would you be willing to sell yourself?"

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2007 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)