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Review: Rachel Getting Married (2008)

Rachel Getting Married (2008) 

Directed by: Jonathan Demme

Premise: Kym (Anne Hathaway) returns home for her sister’s wedding after spending time in a treatment facility.

What Works: Anne Hathaway’s performance as Kym is very good and she largely saves the picture. In every scene she is in, which is most of them, Hathaway brings a fierce energy that pulls everything else tight in what is otherwise a very loose picture. Her character is selfish and destructive but Hathaway also makes her sympathetic by giving the character a lucid energy that comes out in terrifically delivered lines of dialogue and by finding the humor in her awkward return home. Aside from Hathaway, the other stellar performance of the picture is Rosemarie DeWitt as Rachel, the good sister who has followed the rules and lived a clean and ordered life. The conflict between the two sisters is fascinating to watch and as the preparations for the wedding go on, their relationship and Kym’s relationship with her family reach a boiling point that mostly pays off. 

What Doesn’t: Rachel Getting Married is shot and edited in a handheld, low tech style. While the intent is to simulate a documentary look, it is overdone; most handheld documentaries don’t look this haphazard, with subjects framed very poorly or cut partially out of the screen. Many sequences go on much longer than necessary, especially a rehearsal dinner in which too many pre-wedding speeches are given with not enough pay off. The result is that the film looks like someone’s wedding video and there is a reason no one ever watches those. 

Bottom Line: Rachel Getting Married is a difficult film to watch because of its style but the performances make this a notable film.

Episode: #225 (February 1, 2009)