What I like most about this episode: Sondheim. Even before seeing this installment, I have already been bombarded with the scene wherein Jennifer Aniston and Billy Crudup sings ‘Not While I’m Around.’ Theater fans all over have been salivating over it, as it seems to be Sondheim season lately. I thought Crudup was very good in the song, and Aniston surprised me – who knew she could sing?
I thought the rest of the episode was okay. We get the fallout from Bradley’s interview, and Alex is mad. To be honest, I am starting to not like Bradley’s ‘rogue’ style – it is very destructive to peace, and the show has gone through some turmoil – and I even think she senses it when she goes out to drinks with her co-workers. I think the show wants us to see Bradley as very flawed – we see her having random hook up with the bartender, for example. I don’t know why I am more sympathetic towards Alex – perhaps with my old age I value tradition and loyalty more? I am also getting a little warier with Aniston’s performance – it’s showy but kind of lacking in depth. I wonder how I will feel about it further down the line.
I know that ‘After The Wedding’ is an American adaptation of Susanne Bier’s film, and some people do ask – is there a need to Americanize these films? But I racked my brain and realized I have never seen the original, so in this particular case, and for purely selfish reasons, I welcome this. And anything with Juliane Moore and Michele Williams will catch my attention. And to start, they are both great here – when they are in a scene together, just the two of their characters in front of each other already creates so much tension – you really do feel you are in a showcase of two of the greatest actresses working today.
But what is it with Julianne Moore – her last film was also a remake (Gloria) and she even has almost an exact same scene her of her character singing along to a pop song while driving. But no mistake, though her Theresa here is a force, a woman who is driven to see thing as she plans, even as she rearranges people’s paths. Williams comes off the better here with her subdued passive performance, her Isabel is uprooted from an orphanage in India to the wild streets of New York City, only to be confronted by her past. I must say that I really appreciated the twists and turns here, as manipulated as they may have been. I got into these characters and their situations, and I ate up everything they were serving. I liked this movie a lot, and I enjoyed it, especially the performances. I don’t know if I would have liked it more or less if I had seen the original, but what this is really is just fine.