"Rachel Getting Married"
Directed by Jonathan Demme.
Written by Jenny Lumet.
Starring Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Bill Irwin & Debra
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 12/7/08
Now that some media outlets and various arts
circles are releasing their thoughts on the best films and
performances of this year, it has made my life a little easier as I
try to close out the year with some movies that might actually not
suck. "Rachel Getting Married" is one of those films; no, it
does not suck!
Anne Hathaway stars as Kym, who is just
leaving rehab somewhere in Connecticut to return home for the
weekend of her older sister Rachel's wedding. Rachel
(Rosemarie DeWitt) doesn't really love her
hooked-on-prescription-drugs sister, and is still
bitter--obviously--that Kym was the one driving when the family car
went off a bridge, killing their younger brother Ethan. Rachel
is having her wedding at her father's home in Stamford; Dad (Bill
Irwin) had problems of his own and is now divorced from Abby (Debra
Winger), another person who seems distant from the family but has
agreed to come to Rachel's wedding. Amidst all of this family
strife is the actual wedding; Rachel is marrying a musician named
Sidney (Tunde Adebimpe), who thankfully is completely and totally
Hathaway's over-the-top performance as the
attention-needy Kym will probably draw plenty of hardware when
awards are announced; personally, I thought it was good, but it
didn't blow me away since this character has been done countless
times in countless ways before. (So countless that I can't
think of a single one right now!) In terms of performances,
the leads here are all great, and even the bit players, like
Sidney's best friend and best man Kieran, played by Mather Zickel,
are very good, and I really wouldn't be shocked if Irwin locks down
plenty of notice for his role as the family patriarch.
The film's problem is not the acting; no,
the film's problem is the multiple sequences where everyone goes for
the dramatic jugular in-between figuring out seat assignments,
catering, loading the dishwasher (a great scene) or the constant
violin playing on the family's front porch. When "Rachel
Getting Married" is about the wedding, the rehearsal dinner, the
nuptials, and the fun dance reception sequences, I really loved this
movie. The chemistry and camaraderie between the cast members
is truly memorable, and I thought that this was the best part of the
movie by far. My impression is that this cast hung out a LOT
between takes, before shooting began and probably after the film
wrapped principal photography. Some stuff you can't fake; in
this movie, you will love how well the performers work together.
When the movie is about the next dramatic
event in (mainly Kym's) life, "Rachel Getting Married" is a mixed
bag. On the one hand, you get into Rachel's dilemma about
having her aloof sister back for a weekend where Rachel wants to be
the star for once. On the other hand, you almost won't believe
the sequence mid-film where Rachel announces to everyone that she's
pregnant. I'm sitting here with this look to no one of utter
shock, like "who in the hell thought this would work?" or "would Kym
really do that?" or "I need a freakin' drink!" Naturally, at
some point, Kym is allowed back behind the wheel of a car, and this
led to even more what-the-fuckness for me.
Overall, this is a good movie and deserving
of some buzz. It's also nice to see that Jonathan Demme still
knows how to direct a motion picture; the guy literally made "The
Silence of the Lambs" and "Philadelphia" in '91 and '93,
respectively, and completely fell off the radar (I think there were
some health issues thrown in there for good measure). Here,
Demme is back in command of his performers and--as a man who locked
up Oscars for himself, Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Tom Hanks
back in the day--maybe he'll be able to grab some hardware for
Hathaway and his new cast.
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard