Movie Review: 'Rachel Getting Married' a must see even if a few year old
I know most movie goers don't care about three-year-old movies, but if they have a chance to see "Rachel Getting Married" and pass it up they are making a mistake. This film by Jonathan Demme is perhaps the ultimate tribute to American originality with its jazz-like, free-moving cameras and background music made up as the film was shot.
It's the way the film was made and the way it comes to life that is important. It's like real life in accented syllables that lift it out of the ordinary.
Anne Hathaway is Kym, out of rehab to attend her sister Rachel's (Rosemary DeWitt) wedding. Kym has a past with her family, including her father Paul (Bill Irwin) who hovers over her in a blanketing shield. Kym is hurt that Rachel hasn't selected her to be matron of honor and battles for the job. She gets it, with tears all around.
In a fantastic scene at the wedding rehearsal Kym confesses to her guilt in the death of her younger brother, who died when Kym using drugs crashes into a bridge while driving him home. She admits to her addiction as causing the death.
Kym finally confronts her mother Abby (Debra Winger, too long gone from the screen since her fine "The Sheltering Sky") over letting her drive while obviously using drugs. Abby denies the charge and the two exchange blows in a fight scene unrivaled in film history in its brevity and violence.
The movie ends with the wedding and subsequent picking up the pieces, such as the wedding tent. Symbolic, probably, as is the moment when Kym lights a candle in a small boat at the family swimming pool (perhaps taken from the Japanese festival employing the same symbol to placate the dead).
Many of the scenes here are ad hoc, with the music weaving in and out of the action but always there --- not the usual movie crescendos but just quiet, jazz-like. There is a naturalness to it all that bespeaks Demme's direction, he of "Silence of the Lambs."
Hathaway went on to win awards for her black portrait of Kym; she earned it in the definitely not romantic Hollywood star image. But the rest of the cast including DeWitt are also striking in their believability.
This is film making of a different color. It is jazz on film with people as instruments, and Demme has made the whole film industry richer so that now we can have films like "The Artist" silent movie exploring new vistas.
"Rachel" is fine stuff. Just because it is a few years old don't ignore it. Pick it up at the Carson Library, it's free and it's like a trip to the Moon.
Anne Hathaway - Kym, Rachel's sister, who's been in and out of rehab
Rosemarie DeWitt - Rachel, Kym's sister, who's to be married
Bill Irwin - Paul, Kym and Rachel's father
Debra Winger - Abby, Kym and Rachel's estranged mother, denied responsibility Kym had for Ethan's death which lead to the climax of the film.
Directed by Jonathan Demme
Produced by Jonathan Demme
Marc E. Platt
Written by Jenny Lumet
Music by Donald Harrison Jr.
Cinematography Declan Quinn
Editing by Tim Squyres
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics Release date(s) October 3, 2008
Running time 114 minutes, rated R