For the fans of foreign and independent films, After the Wedding is rumbling through the cinemas here and there (and has been in numerous countries) for more than a year. If it's in your neighborhood, it's worth a look-see. (If you're a Bond fan, "Casino Royale"s Le Chiffre, played by Mads Mikkelsen, is the leading man in this flick.)
Jacob is living amongst the poor street children of India, managing a school/orphanage there, even taking on the role of a surrogate parent to one boy there (Pramod). Financially, the school isn't far from bankruptcy, so when an offer comes in for a large donation from a Danish businessman, the school's administrator compels Jacob to meet with the man, Jorgen, in Jacob's native Denmark.
Jacob makes the journey, and it's apparent he's no longer comfortable in his homeland, or wearing the suit-and-tie get-up that is fitting of a meeting with a large donor. Jorgen indicates Jacob's not a shoe-in, as it's a Friday and Jorgen will decide to whom he'll give his donation on Monday. Over the weekend, Jorgen's only daughter Anna, is getting married -- and invites (who are we kidding, nearly orders) Jacob to attend.
Bored and looking out for his school's financial future, he attends. During the toast, Anna makes a toast... unusual for the bride, of course... thanking Jorgen for being like a dad to her all these years, since her mom was sleeping around and having affairs, publicly outing her mother at the reception. The awkward introduction between Anna's mom Helene and Jacob isn't subtle in there being history between the two.
Didn't see that one coming, right? Well, probably, but that's not a trend-setting move.
After that shock to the system, Jacob should be delighted to hear Jorgen has decided to give them at least the $4 million discussed, but hints at as much as $12 million over a multi-year deal. But like any carrot of that size, the strings attached are pretty heavy a burden. The school's administrator tells Jacob the money would be a blessing of untold fortune, and the conditions imposed are of a secondary consequence.
You can't help but admire and dislike Jorgen at the same time. He's a man of blind ambition, but he can't avoid being mortal. The skeletons in the closet begin to pop out, though still in the shadows for a while, until Jorgen lays it all out for Jacob to accept or leave. While I wouldn't characterize the scenario as something we will all face one day, it's plausible beyond a script-writer playing the "what if, what now" game. The moral and personal issues are balanced delicately between what has happened, what it will taken to right the faults of the past, and if making things write is worth it to everyone in the end. But the result will leave you feeling satisfied that life goes on, people generally do the right thing, even if it's not always for the right reasons, on the right timeline, and knowing making those choices aren't without choice and consequence.