After the Wedding

American filmmakers don’t make many movies featuring recognizably human characters dealing with the kinds of complex human dilemmas we all are forced to confront in the course of our lives. Instead, it’s more common for our movies to feature one-dimensional characters who can sustain falls from exploding buildings while barely being scratched. Fortunately, the rest of the world is still making films that probe the questions we all must face in our lives outside the movies, issues like how to deal with our mortality, how to behave honorably and decently, and how to live up to our responsibilities to other people. After the Wedding, a Scandinavian film directed by Susanne Bier, is written with an eye for creating characters the audience can come to care about, and acted so expertly as to make those characters come fully to life. It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards. And, as in real life, no one in this film is perfectly good or irredeemably bad. They are people overcoming conflicts, and watching them do that is engrossing and affirming, reminding us, as the best movies do, that none of us is alone in our struggles.