Jerry Cutler On Film—‘After The Wedding,’ ‘The Art Of Racing In The Rain’ Try Hard, But Both Leave Something To Be Desired
Posted Monday, August 12, 2019 - 10:07 pm
Bart Freundlich is the talented writer/director who has helmed After The Wedding. His previious credits include the critically acclaimed The Myth Of Fingerprints, as well as Showtime’s Californication and, a favorite series of mine, Mozart In the Jungle.
After The Wedding stars Julianne Moore as Theresa Young, a rich benefactor and president of a successful business, who is thinking of pledging much needed funds to an orphanage in Calcutta. But, before the transaction becomes a reality, she insists on meeting with the orphanage director, Isabel (Michelle Williams) in New York.
At first, Isabel balks at the request as she initially left New York with a broken heart and has no desire to return. However, the orphanage is bankrupt and in dire need of funds. Reluctantly, she returns to Manhattan.
She arrives when Theresa and her husband, Oscar Carlson (Billy Crudup), are planning a wedding reception for their daughter, Grace (Abby Quinn). Isabel wants to return to Calcutta as soon as possible, but is convinced to stay for the wedding.
Freundlich has written and directed an old-fashioned script better suited for movie-goers of many years ago. The actors are competent, but their performances are uninspired.
After the Wedding is, at best, a slight diversion from the headlines, filled with familiar faces and a familiar plot.
2 Bagels out of 4
• • • • •
Like millions of other people, I love dogs. We have three at home. Two little ladies–a Maltipoo and a Shitzu Bichon–while the third is a very large Chocolate Labrador. When I take the three of them for a walk, I am often stopped by people I don’t know inquiring how much I charge for dog-walking.
But, I digress. The lead actor in The Art of Racing in the Rain is Enzo, an adorable Golden Retriever who, when the film opens, is obviously advanced in dog years and lying in a puddle of “my own making” spoken by acting icon, Kevin Costner.
When Enzo’s master, Denny (Milo Ventimiglia) a compassionate race car driver returns home, he gingerly and lovingly lifts his old buddy, gently carrying him to his bed. In a series of flashbacks, we are privy to how Denny picks Enzo out of a group of adorable Golden Retrievers and how they eventually bond.
Enzo is now an integral part of Denny’s life. He gets to zoom around the track in Denny’s race car; is present when Denny falls in love and eventually marries Amanda Seigfried and many other of life’s experiences. The happy and the sad.
Throughout, Costner’s raspy voice expressing the thoughts of Enzo, is delivered with wisdom and not too much humor which is sorely lacking especially when a dog is featured in a film that tries too hard to tug at the heart strings.
At the screening, I sat next to a highly respected movie reviewer who is someone I admire greatly. He told that his dog of many years, just passed away. Throughout the film, I felt his pain as Enzo grew older and less active.
I don’t know how he felt about The Art of Racing in the Rain, but I hoped that he liked it better than I did.
2 Bagels out of 4
Jerry Cutler, the courier’s film critic, is rabbi at Creative Arts Temple.