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Film / After the Wedding

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After the Wedding is a 2006 film from Denmark directed by Susanne Bier, written by Anders Thomas Jensen.

Jacob Petersen (Mads Mikkelsen) is a Danish aid worker at an orphanage in India. His orphanage is a tiny oasis of aid and help in a city (the exact location isn't specified) teeming with homeless, starving children. Jacob, who is very dedicated to his work, has taken a special interest in an 8-year-old orphan boy named Pramod.

However, the orphanage is not doing well at all, and may soon have to close for lack of funds. So the director of the orphanage is very happy to receive an offer of funding from Danish billionaire Jørgen Hansson. Jacob travels back home to Denmark to receive the money, and is invited by Jørgen to his daughter Anna's wedding, which is in only a couple of days. Jacob shows up at the wedding and is startled to find that Anna's mother Helene (Sidse Babett Knudsen—Borgen, Westworld) is his old girlfriend from 20 years ago...and Anna is 20 years old.


Was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film (though it lost to The Lives of Others), and was remade in 2019, with Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, and Billy Crudup.


  • Armor-Piercing Question: Jorgen gives one to Jacob: "Do I have to live on the other side of the world to ask for your help?"
  • Barefoot Poverty: The dire poverty of the Indian slums is demonstrated with homeless urchins that not only don't have shoes, they don't even have pants.
  • Bath Kick: Helene does this for some Fanservice as she's bathing while Jørgen is talking to her. Right before she pulls him, fully clothed, into the bathtub.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jørgen dies, and with his money Jacob is able to fund the orphanage, and actually get it remodeled and improved. But because Jacob used to be against the rich and has now become a rich person, he has become a Broken Pedestal to Pramod, who rejects his offer to come live with him, even if it's sincere.
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  • The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: Presumably Jørgen has cancer but no one ever says so, all we find out is that he is ill and has less than a year to live.
  • Distant Finale: Not that distant. But after a main story that seems to take place over maybe a couple of weeks, there's a Time Skip to Jørgen's funeral and Jacob's brief return visit to India.
  • Happily Married: Jørgen and Helene. He married her and raised her daughter as his own, they have cute twin sons, and they're so much in love that when he finds out he's dying, he seeks out and brings back her old boyfriend.
  • Jump Cut: Several jump cuts are used in the film, usually at moments of distress or emotional intensity. One notable jump cut happens with a close-up of Helene's face at the wedding dinner, after she spots Jacob among the guests and realizes that something is up.
  • Orphanage of Love: Jacob works at an underfunded orphanage in India that is struggling to care for at least a few of the masses of hungry orphan children in the city. Besides housing a number of children, the orphanage also distributes food to the street urchins in the neighborhood.
  • Orbital Shot: The camera circles around Jørgen after he walks out onto a balcony of his mansion, at a moment when he's upset soon after confessing to Helene that he's dying.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Pretty much Jørgen's exact idea. He even asks Helene if she thinks she'll get back together with Jacob after he dies.
  • Saving the Orphanage: Why Jacob accepts Jørgen's invitation. He doesn't particularly want to go, but the orphanage is in serious danger of going bankrupt, which would throw the children out on the streets.
  • Secretly Dying: 2/3 of the way through the movie Jørgen reveals his true motives for summoning Jacob to Denmark: he is terminally ill with less than a year to live, and he wants Jacob to stay in Denmark to look after Anna and possibly get back with Helene.
  • Title Drop: Jørgen is upset that his doctor spilled the beans to Helene. She answers by telling her husband that "You had promised him to tell me after the wedding night."
  • Unknown Relative: Jacob is pretty startled to get invited to the wedding of a young woman he's never met, only to find out that her mom is his old girlfriend and he in fact is her biological father.