Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Another recent film, one which explores alienation, family, and the events that can either tie us together or force us apart.

Anne Hathaway plays Kym, the now sober drug addict who leaves rehab in order to attend the wedding of her sister Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt). Kyms arrival brings with it the resurrection of old family wounds and the hurt that some have been keeping inside for years.

What may sound like a shallow plot is actually the vehicle for one of the best films of last year that examines the kind of pain that can exist inside families as well as the strength and love that can keep them together. The film is shot in a documentary style manner by director Jonathan Demme, which makes every argument seem uncomfortably real and the actors do a great job of turning the script into real-life conversation. Speaking of uncomfortable, if you prefer your films to be light and fun, skip this one. While Kym has a lot of sarcastic humor that can bring some laughs, there are also moments where you squirm in your seat as the film delves into some truly awkward and unsettling moments.

The cast is uniformly great, with Anne Hathaway delivering a brilliant performance as a woman who has to be a victim, an instigator, darkly humorous, and haunted all at once, and never once does Hathaway falter, bringing a great sense of realism to her character. Rosemarie Dewitt is equally incredible, playing the sister who has always been shoved to the side. Being the "good sister", she never received the attention that Kym had due to her addiction and misbehaving and this pattern once again sets in once Kym joins the wedding preparation as Kym hijacks the Maid of Honor position and uses her addiction and past history as a crutch to steal as much of the spotlight as she can.

One thing that I enjoy about the film is the amount of love and support shown by the family. While there is a lot of pain and arguing, we never get the sense that Kym is a total victim and that her family just mistreated her. Instead we have a caring family that was rocked by a tragedy in the past, which caused everyone to deal with it in their own way, be it good or bad.

If the film has one flaw, it's that once the actual wedding occurs, it goes on for a bit too long. It focuses entirely too much on people dancing to music and enjoying themselves. But maybe that's the point since there was so much tension and bickering beforehand and the wedding serves as the relief.

But other than that, it's a fine film, full of great performances with a layered and real screenplay that really can hit close to home.


(I decided maybe I should try rating the films I discuss. I dunno if I will stick with it or not, because I don't know if my posts are really in-depth or detailed enough to warrant an actual rating. But I'll just see how this goes.)

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