Rachel Getting MarriedA remarkably perceptive and endearing film
By Adam Frazier
I sat down in a comfy seat at my favorite art house theatre to watch
"Rachel Getting Married," I considered what the archetypical wedding
film consists of.
Movies like "The Wedding Planner," "Runaway
Bride" and most recently, movies like "Maid of Honor" and "27 Dresses"
are schmaltzy, mainstream romantic comedies that take A-List actors and
put them in the motions of a conventional, by-the-numbers story where,
after a minimal amount of conflict, two people are joined in holy
These kinds of movies will never go out of style.
They're big, broad strokes of fairytale storytelling that feed on the
dreams of those who spend their entire lives thinking about their
wedding day. And hey, there's nothing wrong with that. There's a place
for sappy, sentimental mush, but often these candy-coated exercises
feel too good to be true. There are exceptions to the formula, a film
like "Margot at the Wedding" certainly stands out in my mind - but for
the most part, they're all the same flick with an alternating bride and
same cannot be said for "Rachel Getting Married," the new film by
director Jonathan Demme and screenwriter Jenny Lumet. It is a
devastatingly honest work that tiptoes the line between dark comedic
dysfunction and tragic emotional grief.
Anne Hathaway plays Kym,
an estranged daughter whose periodic brushes with rehab make young
Hollywood look tame in comparison. When Kym returns to the Buchman
family home for the wedding of her sister Rachel (Rosemarie Dewitt),
she brings a long history of personal crisis and unresolved family
conflict along with her.
Demme's voyeuristic approach, utilizing
handheld cameras, puts you right in the middle of this maelstrom as
Kym's reemergence throws a wrench into the family dynamics, forcing
long-simmering tensions to surface in ways both comedic and
We spend time with Kym and interact with her
family and the assorted cast of eclectic characters that make up
Rachel's wedding party. Lumet's painfully accurate and honest script,
coupled with Demme's intimate direction, heightens every celebration
and awkwardly embarrassing conflict in the Buchman household.
it feels too real, like a horrible car wreck you don't dare take your
eyes from. Rarely does "Rachel Getting Married" feel candy-coated and
never does it run into emotionally bankrupt territory. This is no doubt
Anne Hathaway's best performance to date, and she may have a hard time
ever topping it - not for lack of talent, but for the fact that an
honest and endearing story like this doesn't come around too often.
for instance, Hathaway's next cinematic offering, "Bride Wars" starring
Kate Hudson. Now there's a schmaltzy characteristic wedding movie that
will no doubt entertain with its mix of romance, comedy and
girl-on-girl revenge tactics. Hathaway's got the best of two worlds,
the heartbreakingly real drama and the fairytale wedding flick that's
filled with pretty dresses and table arrangements.
What she will
be remembered for, however, won't be her long list of cute comedies
where she plays everyone's favorite sweetheart. For me, she'll always
be Kym, the abrasive drunk who makes awkward toasts at rehearsal
dinners and seemingly always finds a way to put her personal crisis at
the center of attention.
I'm in love "Rachel Getting Married."
It's a movie I look forward to watching again and again. I envy anyone
who gets to sit down and experience its devastating performances and
heartfelt story for the first time.