Rachel Getting Married
Rated R; Directed by Jonathan Demme; Starring Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt; Bill Irwin, Debra Winger, Mather Zickel, Anna Deavere Smith, Anisa George
Director Jonathan Demme’s new film, Rachel Getting Married has a lot going for it — an amazing cast, a different kind of script with interesting characters, a talented director, and some interesting ideas. There’s even some Oscar® buzz about the movie. Then why wasn’t I totally thrilled with the film?
The movie is titled Rachel Getting Married, but the main character is Kym (Anne Hathaway), an addict out of rehab for the weekend so she can attend her sister’s wedding. Kym is an unsettling attention getter and a happy weekend for all is not going to happen. Sibling issues between Kym and Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) come to the fore, and an old family tragedy still hangs over Kym and the rest of the family.
Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada, Princess Diaries) breaks out from the sweet goody-goody roles we’ve seen her in, making Kym an understandable but not necessarily likeable character. Her willingness to keep Kym’s character jagged and unsympathetic even helps us care about what Kym will do next. Rosemarie DeWitt (HBO’s “Mad Men”) also gives an excellent performance as the “good” sister, who gets tired of Kym’s antics. Bill Irwin as the girls’ father and Debra Winger as their mother adds to more great performances.
The script, written by Jenny Lumet, daughter of famed director Sydney Lumet, follows interesting paths. This movie doesn’t have a happy, happy resolution, but allows for some things to stay unsettled. The characters move beyond stereotypes and some scenes shine as the characters interact.
The main problem with the movie is the direction. Jonathan Demme (Something Wild, Philadelphia) can make a wonderful movie, and he does do some interesting things in this one. Unfortunately, his worst decision in the direction was to make if feel like a home movie. Every scene is filmed with jittery hand-held camerawork that distracts from the emotion on screen. At times it can get almost nauseating. He creates some interesting moments, but in some cases they can go on way too long (the toasts at a rehearsal dinner or the dancing at the wedding reception). The fun in watching the little moments that happen at the sidelines of the story take over and slow the main plot down.
Rachel Getting Married is a worthy movie. There may be some Academy Award nominations coming its way. I just wanted to be immersed in the story more. The great performances help; the direction does not.