Saturday, October 16, 2010

Movie Review: Rachel Getting Married

Imagine that you happened upon someone else's family during the weekend before a big wedding. You are plopped down right amidst all the preparations and drama that inevitably occurs.

Now imagine that the sister of the bride, Kym, emerges from a stint in rehab for the occasion. She brings her full-fledged addict personality, wanting everything to be about her and her drama. She cannot fathom why her normal sister Rachel would not have asked her to be the maid of honor and demands for the decision to be changed (and gets her way).

Rachel and Kym's parents are divorced, and the elegant Debra Winger plays their very distant, damaged mother. Jonathan Demme directs this film indie style, with hand-held video shots, round-the-clock background music (the musicians rehearsing for the wedding), and eclectic personalities.

In some ways it works, and in some ways it doesn't. The movie desperately needed better editing. The wedding rehearsal and reception seem interminable, time that could have been better spent with the characters. Much of the photography in these two scenes were unrehearsed and unstaged, apparently. Anne Hathaway shows a deeper side to her acting as the brittle, highly dramatic Kym. What first appears to be a relatively simple drama about an addict and her family turns into something with more tragic layers.

Only too well, I could relate to Rachel's complicated, ambivalent feelings about having an addict for a sibling. When Kym leaves at the end of the film to return to rehab, Rachel embraces her warmly and then heaves a big sigh of relief when she's gone.

The film felt very arty, and I seemed to like it better than Mike...although I recommend it with hesitation. I'd give it 2-1/2 or 3 stars: well done in many ways, but needing an edit and more depth. I didn't care enough about the characters to want to be a voyeur on their family festivities, and that's a problem.

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