If you thought your wedding was weird…

Most cinematic love stories these days end with a wedding. But in the Danish film After the Wedding (available on DVD 7/10) — nominated last year for a Best Foreign Film Oscar — things don’t begin to twist (and twist and twist again) until after the party ends.

Mads Mikkelsen (best known as the blood-weeping baddie from Casino Royale) stars as Jacob, who has been working at an orphanage in India for 20 years. When he’s summoned back to his native Copenhagen by a rich benefactor promising funding, he doesn’t realize there are other, possibly darker forces at work. Directed by Susanne Bier, the film takes some devastating turns that could easily have steered it into melodramatic Lifetime-ish movie territory if it weren’t for the dignified and restrained performances, sparse dialogue, and luscious cinematography. The film questions the reality of true love, bloodlines, and obligation. And it will leave you wondering if it’s required by law that everyone living in Denmark be preternaturally good-looking.

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This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. If you thought your wedding was weird…