By Heather Leszczewicz Special to Published May 14, 2007 at 5:04 AM

Weddings are supposed to be joyous occasions, right? Not always. For a Danish family, the realities of life "After the Wedding" ("Efter brylluppet") are less than amicable. There are families broken up and losses all around.

Schoolteacher, mentor and Danish transplant, Jacob (Mads Mikkelsen), has been living in India for years. He is there to help keep the Indian children in his care out of prostitution and into a better life. However, his program is beginning to fail. He has to get funding, otherwise it will be the end to his orphanage.

He is sent back to Denmark, where rich businessman Jørgen (Rolf Lassgård) is looking for charitable programs to give money to. However, Jørgen has other plans for Jacob besides a new business venture.

Jacob gets invited to Jørgen's daughter Anna's (Stine Fischer Christensen) wedding the day after he arrives in Denmark. It's a private occasion, but Jacob has more right to be at the wedding than any of the other guests. It turns out, Anna isn't Jørgen's biological daughter.

Jørgen's wife Helene (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and Jacob were in a relationship that ended badly. They lost touch before she could tell him that she was pregnant. The revelation is all a part of Jørgen's plan; Jacob's new relationship with his daughter is intricate to the future of his entire family.

However, this plan for the future affects Jacob's entire life in India and his newly found family. Jørgen has made it so Jacob cannot have what he wants without losing something else.

Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, "After the Wedding" has the life-changing moments, cinematography and the beautiful story that the Oscar voters love. It's a twist on the family melodrama and the Maury-style "Who's My Baby's Daddy?" television shows, albeit a tad more artistic.

After seeing Mikkelsen as the evil Le Chiffre in "Casino Royale" and barely there Tristan in "King Arthur," it seemed like a stretch for him to play a three dimensional character like Jacob. Mikkelsen can play emotional, but Jacob still has a detachment from the situations that surround him.

Lassgård as Jørgen, in comparison to Mikkelsen's Jacob, has no trouble with his emotions and his environment. He's a fireball of anger when he needs to be and the sweet husband/father at other times. His emotions play to where he is in life -- he's rich and privileged and likes to get his way. Minus one misstep with complete overacting, his character is the one that will have people gripped. Not all of his actions are agreeable, but he is the one that sets the entire story into motion.

Director Susanne Bier made it a point to focus on the eyes of her characters. It seems fitting if she was playing on the cliché "eyes are the window to the soul." Depending on how people read Bier's characters, they can be soulless or full of life.

People have to have their secrets, but when those secrets get out, life gets turned around. The secrets that get out in "After the Wedding" are more poignant and have an effect on both the characters involved and those only partaking through viewing. Just like life, it ends without being fully resolved, there are still those little messes that need fixing. But it's about being in the moment, and making those little messes manageable.


Heather Leszczewicz Special to

Originally from Des Plaines, Ill., Heather moved to Milwaukee to earn a B.A. in journalism from Marquette University. With a tongue-twisting last name like Leszczewicz, it's best to go into a career where people don't need to say your name often.

However, she's still sticking to some of her Illinoisan ways (she won't reform when it comes to things like pop, water fountain or ATM), though she's grown to enjoy her time in the Brew City.

Although her journalism career is still budding, Heather has had the chance for some once-in-a-lifetime interviews with celebrities like actor Vince Vaughn and actress Charlize Theron, director Cameron Crowe and singers Ben Kweller and Isaac Hanson of '90s brother boy band Hanson. 

Heather's a self-proclaimed workaholic but loves her entertainment. She's a real television and movie fanatic, book nerd, music junkie, coffee addict and pop culture aficionado.