Orlando's picture

    Review: Rachel Getting Married

    In the film Rachel Getting Married, Anne Hathaway plays Kym, a young woman fresh from another stint in rehab who returns home just in time for her sister Rachel's wedding. Kym, accustomed to being the center of attention, struggles to integrate into her suddenly extended family of in-laws, bridal party, and old family friends.

    In less capable hands, Kym would not be a sympathetic character. She's selfish, narcissistic, and sometimes downright mean. But Hathaway manages to make the audience cringe one moment and cry for her the next. Kym is the junkie trying to stay clean while her father hovers, watching anxiously for signs of relapse and while both her parents studiously avoid any meaningful discussion of Kym's biggest demon, the one that has kept her returning to drugs again and again.

    As Rachel, Rosemary DeWitt is enchanting. Holding one's own against Hathaway can't be easy, but when DeWitt was on the screen, I couldn't take my eyes off her. As Rachel, she is trying to hard to break out of the family dynamic, to enjoy her wedding, for once to be the center of attention, and to love her wayward sister. The scenes that focus on the relationship between Kym and Rachel make this movie worth seeing. As for the rest? Meh.

    The movie's attempts to feel authentic are at times charming, but more often self-conscious. During the wedding weekend, there are staged muscial performances and also a roving band of musicians wandering around the house and yard in a constant state of strumming. It sets up one funny moment, but otherwise, it's as inexplicable as it is annoying. The only plausible reason offered is that Sydney, the fiance, is a musician. So, presumably these people are his friends and they just like to make music, but who knows. They never talk.

    The wedding is for some reason Indian-themed, with the bridal party clad in saris. Rachel's family is white and they live in Connecticut. Syndney's family is black and they live in Hawaii. But okay, I can accept that Rachel might think saris are so pretty as to want to be married in one. What I cannot accept is how, at an Indian-themed wedding filled with jazz musicians, a Brazilian band suddenly appears in the reception tent, playing batucada with Carnaval costumed dancers in tow. It was as if director Jonathan Demme was screaming to the audience, LOOK AT ME! I'M SO MULTI-CULTURAL AND EVOLVED." Weird, right?

    All in all, Rachel Getting Married is interesting enough to hold your attention and Hathtway's nomination for Best Actress is well-deserved, as is the absence of the film in the Best Movie category.

    Latest Comments