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Sunday, 18 November 2012

Rachel Getting Married

Rachel Getting Married
Rated: R
Running Time: 113 minutes
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Bill Irwin, Rosemarie DeWitt
Directed By: Jonathan Demme
Rating: 6.5 out of 10
A girl gets a weekend pass from rehab to attend her sister’s wedding.

Anne Hathaway in another movie involving a wedding is enough to make me shudder (See Bride Wars.) Just the mere mention of the overdone angle of marriage and movies had me wanting to bail on this ceremony faster than Julia Roberts. This film changed my view and shows with a little creativity even the holy institution of matrimony can be an enjoyable watch. Rachel Getting Married is the story of Kym. She has been in and out of rehab for years and she gets a weekend pass to attend her sister’s wedding.

I guess why I liked this film so much is the fact it wasn’t your typical romantic comedy where the groom gets cold feet and everything goes wrong for the bride. It also isn’t a romantic drama where woman gush over how beautiful the bride’s dress is, and how lovely the flowers are. It is a film based on realism and intense dialogue that is lacking from so many other wedding films. The movie starts and we are introduced to Kym as she arrives at the house for the lead up to the wedding. What occurs next is 2 days of dysfunction as long unspoken family issues come to the forefront. Weddings are supposed to be magical and wonderful events. This one may culminate as such but leading up to the big moment is fraught with tears and tension. This film weaves stories of personal tragedy, addiction, and family discourse seamlessly into the preparation for the wedding. Learning about this family’s past adversity will have most viewers tearing up more than the wedding will. That is how the movie plays out for the most part. One moment there is an intense conversation leading to a huge fight and you forget that this film is even about a wedding. The next moment the viewer is immersed in wedding planning, and wedding events, and forgets this film has a huge darker emotional side to it. The viewer is taken on that back and forth ride and will be entertained by both sides.

The acting and specifically the characters is what makes this film so enjoyable. Kym played by Anne Hathaway turns in a very believable and raw performance. Her character’s anti social behavior and rough exterior gives the film its gritty edge. In a film that is supposed to be all about the wedding, Hathaway sticks out like a tornado in a cornfield and that is a good thing. Her sister Carol played by Rose Marie Dewitt plays the straighter laced character very well. Her barely contained anger over her sister’s antics is always noticeable. She keeps the tension at the surface as she prepares for her wedding and deals with Kym’s hard to mesh with personality. The character that stole the show for me was their father played by Bill Irwin. A super liberal and caring dad takes both sisters sides as they literally scream and bicker their way to the wedding. He seems honest and thoughtful and was exactly what this film needed. All the characters do a great job though establishing family chemistry and the immense stress that comes with planning and pulling off a wedding.

The films camera work gives the film a very realistic edge to it. When all the intense moments of love or hate are captured you seem to be in the room with them. Another thing I really liked about the film was its believable family nature. Compassion and forgiveness are what most family’s are about and this one is no different. No matter how serious the topic, love still is apparent in the room and that truly is hard to capture well. The film does have its faults or it would have scored higher. Extended scenes of wedding rehearsal speeches are boring and hard to sit through. The film is also pretty depressing and seems to keep hammering the viewer with sad story after sad story never letting up and it gets distracting. As the movie came to a close I couldn’t believe how much I liked this film though. What ultimately is just about a weekend and a wedding comes off as a powerful drama that you won’t want to miss.  
Director Jonathan Demme has shot a pretty decent wedding film. Its dark lead character fits perfectly into the film about a wedding. The camera work is great and the family is so believable that most can relate even on some minute level. The film is slow at points but to be expected when the topic is so bleak. Overall though, the dialogue and intense scenes of family interactions are not to be missed. Good job on a topic that has been done to death.

I give this film a recommendation especially to drama lovers and people who like indie films.

T Factor + If you like indie films this could score higher on the rating scale.

T Factor – If you do not like built up drama then this could score lower on the rating scale.

If you liked this film reel recommendations: Pieces of April, The Door in the Floor.

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