' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: After The Wedding is a story about a mother and daughter reunion; Catch it On Demand

Sunday, October 4, 2020

After The Wedding is a story about a mother and daughter reunion; Catch it On Demand

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in the world...is a line from Casablanca of course, but the other night I had a similar experience watching a film from On Demand that I knew nothing about....

After scrolling through what seemed like hundreds of movies to find something that wasn't a horror, action, comic book-themed movie, I came upon a drama called, After the Wedding. Info said it was about memories stirred up by attending a wedding. Hell, I'm about memories, right? Weddings, right? It starred Julienne Moore and Michelle Williams, both actors I like. I hit Play. 

Isabel, (Williams) works at an orphanage in India and is summed back to the US to secure a $2M donation for the orphanage. The rich lady (Moore as Theresa) considering the donation is insisting Isabel show up in person to make the pitch. Reluctantly, Isabel flies to New York City.


Once there, Isabel is ensconced in a luxe suite the size of a small house--in sharp contrast to her room at the orphanage--and after a quick lunch together, Theresa suggests she comes to her daughter's wedding the next day, where they will have a chance to get to know each other better. That seemed a bit flimsy--there isn't a lot of time for the mother of the bride at a wedding to "get to know" a new person, I thought, but you had to get Isabel to the wedding somehow. At the wedding at the very big house and grounds of Theresa and her artist husband, Oscar (Billy Crudup), it comes upon you rather quickly without words that Isabel knows Oscar --he's the key, right? Well, not only him but you the bride is the daughter Isabel and Oscar had when they were young and decided to give up for adoption. 

Papers signed, Isabel splits for the Peace Corps; Oscar, an artist, hangs around New York City, and visits his daughter for most of the 30 days in which he had to revoke his permission for adoption. And in the end, does exactly that. (In New York now, you have 45 days to revoke and adoption.) 

How did I chose this movie? Or all the movies in all the On Demand list...synchronicity. Or course, I'd find this movie. 

Oscar met Theresa when the child was two, and by all accounts, Theresa has been not only a highly successful businesswoman, but also a good mother. Oscar and Theresa, incidentally, had twin boys several years later--after a lot of trouble, Theresa notes; they are now eight or so. 

The rest of the story plays out quite well without maudlin or fake notes. The scenes between natural mother and daughter, and adoptive mother and daughter, are quietly written and acted and believable, even as the huge stirring up of emotions that this unleashes for most birth/first mothers is downplayed. 

But everyone's different, right? Even women who sign termination papers for their children to be adopted. Having heard too many stories about birth mothers who do not want to reunite or even meet with their children who were adopted, I've long ago given up believing we are all the same. Though it pains me to write this, as I know who much this hurts the adoptee, how truly gut-wrenching this has to be, some mothers do refuse to meet their children who were adopted. 

It's a somewhat soapy plot as I related the whole story to my husband the next morning, but stripped of its language, Pride and Prejudice can be seen as soapy too. After the Wedding has an ending that pleased me--unlike Juno, which made me angry--and though I am usually a big weeper, only when the credits were running, did I shed a few quick tears. 

But finding a story about our issue, the issue that sits at the heart and center of most readers who find this blog, and see it portrayed well was refreshing and heart-warming. Isabel the birth mother is a good person; so is adoptive mother Theresa. And even though Oscar lied and told the daughter her mother had died, he's not bad either, just human, and reflects the stories that are often told adoptees. This movie has no demons. 

After the Wedding is a small movie, came out in August, 2019 in a limited release, unlikely to ever win any awards, but for me, it was a satisfying, well-acted piece...about women like us. I'll take it.--lorraine


Other Films You Might Enjoy (or NOT)



  1. Another excellent film. Casa de los Babys https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0303830/ Six women wait in an hotel in an unnamed South American city to pick up their babies from a baby broker. The film shows how cras, arbitrary, and sad adoption is.

  2. Thanks for the heads up Lorraine. I'll see if I can track this one down for the weekend. Jane, Casa de los Babys sounds like it would be very painful to watch.

  3. sorry to post this here but I need some advice having found my birth mother and been in reunion for almost a year now, it has been a struggle right from the beginning with her being rude and her husband and some lies along the way (understandable really) and she is still keeping me a secret from the rest of the family (she has told them that I died) another issue has now come up she tells me that I owe her because she gave birth to me. I know that she is old and not so well but I have found myself supporting them with food and running errands for them, when I sound reluctant she starts being very rude shouting and saying that I`m a disappointment to her. I`m not allowed to mention the adoption because that is all in the past She`s also saying that I`m selfish and trying to keep her away from her grandchild (my son) who is severely disabled and I really don't want him upset by all of this. I`m at a loss at how to turn this round or even if I want to. Every time I try to address the issues she laughs and tells me to just get over it ...I would be grateful for any help/ advice or suggestions on how i deal with this thank you and I hope you are all staying safe.

  4. Anon 10-18; I wish I could make it all go away for you, however, seriously, that is a very damaged person and not a healthy relationship. I am not sure you can fix this. I do applaud your keeping your child out of it, as it does not appear to be a positive environment for the boy. I can say that an abusive relationship is not going to get better until the abuser gets help. Good luck.

  5. thank you Lori for your kind words, no I believe the situation with my birth mother is beyond my capabilities, if it was any other person I would have run a mile away but I failed to protect myself and left myself open to be taken advantage of, I kept thinking it will get better the next time and then the next time, a hard lesson to learn but at least I've learnt it, thank you for your support keep safe and have a peaceful Xmas.. to you all.

    1. Anonymous, Don't feel alone. I did that for 15 years with my daughter... sadly, she has decided that I am the problem (I am a dark and negative person- her words) and we have had no contact for a few years now. Maybe it is a good thing? sigh... Merry Christmas.

    2. Hi Lori, hope you had a reasonable Xmas I am here in the Uk and an older adoptee in my 50`s and I can say for certain that it is your daughter that is missing out over here our records have been available since 1975 but we have to jump through the hoops to get them having counselling sessions before we can even access our records. I knew that if I found and met my mother that it wouldn't be easy and there would be lots of unconscious emotions flying around as well as a lot of cognitive dissonance from both sides lol and I was prepared to work through all of that. From my side as an adoptee from the 60`s I never knew in all my 50 odd years what a bond with a parent was I was rejected in the end by my adopters due to my A mother not being able to give birth herself and I was adopted twice because of my A father dying suddenly and my A mother remarrying. But the brief bond with my natural mother showed me what it was like to be bonded ..alas she sensed this and took advantage I realise now just how alone I have been but as strong as the bond that I feel for my natural mother is (I would do anything for her) I cant allow her to hurt me in the way she has been doing. So if your daughter is young she will come to realise she is missing out on that bond with you I hope she can and will resume contact with you. As to being dark and negative that is how my b mothers husband described me lol which is not in anyway how I am. I told him that there is a difference between negativity and an all encompassing deep intense situation that doesn't happen everyday but all he wanted to do was minimize the whole situation as did my B mother, I feel sorry for people who cant feel deeply as ones whole life is nothing but shallow. Make no mistake having deep intense feelings shows that you care, my B mother to me is so important but I cant allow her to have that power because of want she does with it. Here is a quote you may have read it all ready how some adoptees feel... A baby will cry for it`s mother even when that same mother has set it on fire

    3. A mother will cry for her baby, always.

  6. I'm having a Firstmotherforum movie weekend. Watched this one tonight on your recommendation and, like The Other Son, I found this one also worth watching. I, too, appreciated that there was no demon. People were portrayed as decent humans, doing the best they could in any given moment. Probably like most people. I'm glad you found it and shared it :-)



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