What we think about when we’re old and graying, my review of the 2019 film “After the Wedding”

I grow more enamored with Julianne Moore every time I see another one of her films, but this one blew me away. This film dealt with a few of my most crucial issues at present, and did so in such profoundly moving and sensitive ways. If I had to summarize in one sentence, I would say “After the Wedding” is about the terrible decisions we must make when we are too young to make them, and their long-term consequences… It is about the issues we try to come to terms with decades later as we face our own end.

Watching this film reminded me of how I so often wonder why certain parts of my past, certain people, certain moments, certain memories, haunt me, demanding so much of my psychic energy decades later, while most simply fade away. How did I deal with that person, that anger, that fear, that abandonment and why? It seems most of us can obscure painful memories only so long, as we continue to learn and grow and increase our capacity for compassion.

As Julianne says at one point near the end of this film, “discomfort brings growth.”

Yes, I’m quite familiar with the anti-discomfort argument. Why suffer at this late date when nothing can be done about it? I do my share of spacing it all out and celebrating the absurdity of life, but I also enjoy films like this that are so raw and intense they ask you to step up to the plate and feel your past and perhaps give yourself a much-needed break.

I pride myself on searching out and confronting the truth at every turn. I believe that is what makes us a tiny bit better than the other animals. Nothing can be changed about the past, but our own understanding of what it means to us is what makes us human. I also enjoyed the song at the end: “I knew you for a moment” by Abby Quinn

“The first forty years of life give us the text; the next thirty supply the commentary on it.” — Arthur Schopenhauer

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