After the Wedding Movie Poster

After the Wedding (Efter brylluppet) is a Danish movie released in 2006. The film is directed by Susanne Bier and stars Mads Mikkelsen and Sidse Babett Knudsen. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


Jacob Petersen manages an Indian orphanage. With a small staff, he works as hard as he can to keep the orphanage afloat. The project has been in danger of collapse for eight years and now faces bankruptcy. A Danish corporation offers a substantial donation to maintain the orphanage, but Jacob is told that he must return to Denmark (where he grew up) to receive the funds. Apparently, the CEO of the corporation wishes to shake Jacob's hand.

Jacob travels to Copenhagen and checks into a luxurious suite at a five-star hotel, paid for by the corporation: quite a contrast from his living conditions in India.

When Jacob meets with Jorgen (the CEO of the corporation), Jorgen says he is still considering which project to fund. This surprises Jacob, who had understood that the decision was already made.

Since Jorgen's daughter Anna is to marry on the next day, he invites Jacob to the wedding. Coincidentally, Jacob meets his former girlfriend Helene there. She was the love of his life and went to India with him, but when he was unfaithful with her best friend, she left him and went back to Denmark. She is now the wife of Jorgen.

During Anna's speech at the marriage festivities, Jacob learns she is not the biological daughter of Jorgen. His suspicion that she might be his is confirmed by Helene the next day. Jacob is angry to have learned of his daughter only after two decades. Helene claims that they had tried to track him down in India but were unsuccessful. She is compelled to tell Anna of Jacob now; the two meet and get along rather well.

Despite all these issues, Jacob does meet Jorgen again over the funding of his Indian orphanage. Jorgen offers to create a foundation in Jacob's and Anna's name and fund it with a large sum of money. One of the conditions of the contract, however, would be that Jacob moves to Denmark. Jacob initially finds himself unable to comply, because back in India waits eight-year-old Pramod, whom he has been raising since birth. He also does not want to be bought by Jorgen. When Jacob storms out, Jorgen explains to him his real motivation: Jorgen is terminally ill and will soon die. He has brought Jacob to Denmark so he can care for Anna, Helene and Jorgen's little twin sons. Jacob is so angered, however, that he hastily leaves for his hotel room. When Anna turns up there crying her eyes out because her newlywed has been unfaithful, Jacob realizes that he should be there for his daughter and that he can help tens of thousands of Indian orphans that way, as well. He signs the contract with Jorgen.

Jorgen dies. On Jacob's next visit to India, construction work at the orphanage is well under way. Jacob asks Pramod whether he would like to come to Denmark with him, but partly because Jacob used to rail against rich people, Pramod decides to stay in his home country.


  • Jacob -- idealistic, passionate, determined
  • Jorgen -- wealthy, forceful, emotional, is a leader, runs company, dedicated to family, believes in integrity in business, seems somewhat old school.
  • Helene -- practical, supportive, dutiful, secretive.
  • Anna -- an innocent, perhaps intuitive.
  • Pramod -- a wise, young child.


  • Jacob's aspiration to go beyond his failures of not raising funding in the past for the orphanage in India is what drives him and the story.
  • The energy of Jacob arriving on the scene causes Anna to discover her new husband's infidelity, preventing her from living out a disastrous long-term marriage. Jacob's goodness subtly forces the badness out of Anna's husband (i.e. causes it to rise to the surface), allowing her to discover her husband in bed with another woman, and preventing a dark relationship and marriage.
  • Early in the film, a conversation Jacob has with Anna's fiancée after he arrives from India brings out a great clue and insight in the film. Brought out is that Jacob is skeptical about the good intentions of the rich in that conversation. (It is a common occurrence of idealists such as Jacob, and is often true in life.) That cynicism turns out to be wrong-headed. (It is in fact that sort of disbelief in the motives of the rich may have driven many away from him all along in his ideal pursuit of helping the poor in India.)
  • This is similar to how Elizabeth was overly prejudiced about Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.
  • Rather than avoiding the situation (near the end of the film), Jacob goes back to India and sees the little boy he has raised. However, rather than being devastated that Jacob will now have to live permanently in Denmark, the boy is understanding of the fact. That is an astounding response for Jacob who expected him to be devastated. By making the effort, and by doing the right things in Denmark, the situation with the boy has a starling positive turn. We should also keep in mind is that the boy is now less attached to Jacob because there is now an outlet for his energies now that the money has changed the conditions at the school. The atmosphere is now positive there, and he has better social relationships as a result, which reduces the attachment to Jacob. He says that he will be happy if Jacob (who is not his real father) would visit on occasion.
  • In the end Jacob accomplishes at an astonishing level. He not only secures the funds for the orphanage, but he makes contact with a daughter he never knew he had, and has the prospect of renewing his relationship with Helene. She is also fabulously wealthy and can therefore further contribute to the orphanage, and other such projects that Jacob is involved in. This all occurs because life has compelled him to seek funding for the orphanage, which he fully embraces.
  • We could say that through Jorgen’s goodness in trying to make provisions for his family after his death all of his money can now be used for a higher purpose (through Jacob).
  • Anna goes through a triple shock -- the discovery of her true father, the infidelity of her husband, and the death of her surrogate father. This is almost a mirror of Jacob's accomplishment, expressed "negatively."
  • The stuffed animal heads in the house is indicative of the forceful ways of the rich tycoon. Yet in one sense, Jacob is deceived by them and Jorgen's manner, because he is unable to see the higher intent of Jorgen behind his actions -- i.e. to provide for his family after his death.
  • Anna indicates an idealistic strain like Jacob, indicating that the character is through various individuals (parents, grandparents) through the genes.
  • A man of accomplishment like Jorgen has done research and has discovered that Jacob has failed in the past to obtain funding for his projects. It is a weakness of Jacob that Jorgen has discovered. Jorgen knows that through him, Jacob can overcome his failures of the past. Jacob acknowledges that failure and so accepts the money from Jorgen. Jacob swallows his pride, and his limited view of the rich to fulfill that goal.
  • Idealism and money come together through the personal growth of Jacob, the acceptance of the hard facts of life and the new truths by Anna, and the goodness towards his family expressed by Jorgen.
  • The goodness Jorgen feels towards the family also seems to be expressed in his company through values of integrity, and perhaps of family feeling. (This could be said to be the key factors along with the drive and energy of Jorgen that has made the company so successful, and therefore he so wealthy.)
  • Through a man's goodness towards his family, Jorgen is able to intuit that Jacob will serve his purpose, which he (Jacob) does. Jacob's situation serves to fulfill Jorgen's psychological concerns for his family's well-being. It is life responding to Jorgen's goodness in the face of death.

--Roy 15:46, 7 December 2007 (UTC)