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Rachel Getting Married

Jonathan Demme's Family Celebration An Ordeal To Endure

About.com Rating 2 Star Rating
User Rating 3 Star Rating (1 Review)

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Rachel Getting Married

Anne Hathaway in 'Rachel Getting Married'

Sony Pictures Classics
What a terrible idea: have your wedding the very weekend your little sister gets out of rehab. Bring this wildcat back into the family home, already chaotic with wedding preparations. Take her to the rehearsal dinner where heartfelt toasts are in order. What, honestly, do you think is going to happen? Little crazy rehab sister, Kym spelled with a Y, is going to combust. The question is: when, where, and how often?
The very premise of Jonathan Demme's Rachel Getting Married, written by Jenny Lumet (daughter of filmmaker Sydney) rankles. Anne Hathaway shows off a new, adult side in the role of Kym, allowed to let loose in her edgiest role since the straight-to-DVD Havoc. She sports a short, choppy hair cut, wears the requisite bad girl black eyeliner, and throws a variety of tantrums. These emotional outbursts come fast and furious; it's impossible to count how many fights, family revelations, and teary-eyed reconciliations happen in this film. Rachel Getting Married is a veritable orgy of family angst.

A diverse and inordinately talented group of friends and family gather to celebrate the nuptials of interracial couple Rachel (Rosemarie De Witt), daughter of a major music producer (Bill Irwin), and Sidney (Tunde Ademimpe), a musician who has the audacity to sing an entire song a cappella during the wedding ceremony. The bride and her attending bridesmaids wear saris on the big day. Hip performers, including Robyn Kitchock and Sister Carol East, sing at the wedding reception. More musicians hang around the house all weekend long, jamming non stop in the background, all movie long. There is also a black standard poodle on the premises, a gorgeous dog that made me miss my sister's poodle Tess.

Anne Hathaway nn "Rachel Getting Married"

Sony Pictures Classics
In grudging praise of Jonathan Demme, I'll admit that Rachel Getting Married is stunningly realistic, from the documentary sensibility to the film's informal look and naturalistic performances. The ensemble cast includes Debra Winger in a rare screen appearance as the sisters' distant mother, Anna Deveare Smith, DeWitt (of recent Mad Men fame) and of course, Hathaway, who is already getting Oscar buzz. The very believability of it all makes Rachel Getting Married even harder to endure.

Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Debra Winger, Bill Irwin, Tunde Adebimpe, Anna Deavere Smith
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Produced by: Jonathan Demme, Neda Armian, Marc Platt
Running Time: 1 hr. 56 min.
Release Date: October 3rd, 2008 (limited)
MPAA Rating: R for language and brief sexuality.
Distributors: Sony Pictures Classics
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 3 out of 5
A patchwork of tedium, angst, and brilliance, Member LARRY101

I wanted to love this film and at times I did. Anne Hathaway's portrayal of a recovering addict on weekend furlough from rehab to attend her sister's wedding is painfully realistic, every raw nerve exposed and on display for the assembled guests. It's difficult to watch at times. The fighting within the family is brutal, a running battle that goes on throughout the weekend with occasional truces only to be followed by fresh outbreaks of hostilities. This family has secrets within secrets, which will eventually be revealed. The film could easily have been improved by some judicious editing of several interminably boring scenes. I didn't enjoy the toasts at my own rehearsal dinner; I didn't need to hear a half dozen or more at Rachel's. I suppose the dishwasher race scene was supposed to be endearing. Sorry, but watching people load the same dirty dishes over and over and over again - seriously, they filmed this scene to begin with and actually left it in - is not entertaining. Then there was the ridiculous attempt at including every possible culture known to mankind, excuse me, personkind in human herstory. The wedding was like some PC political event on the Monday before election day or a spoof on ""Tony and Tina's Wedding"". It was ludicrous. Without the 20 minutes of tedium and silliness described in this paragraph, the movie easily rates 4 stars, maybe 5. The performances are outstanding. Anne Hathaway is getting well deserved Oscar buzz, but Debra Winger's subtle, understated performance in the role of the mother is the most impressive. She's absolutely mesmerizing, making her presence quietly, almost hauntingly felt throughout. The other cast members - Bill Irwin and Rosemarie DeWitt in particular - turn in excellent performances.

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