“Rachel Getting Married’s” style neutralizes good performances
Anne Hathaway grows up as an actress playing Kym, a recovering addict who comes home after a nine month stint in rehab in order to attend her sister Rachel’s (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding ceremony.
A Disney princess no more, Hathaway’s against-type performance as a complicated, confused, talkative, cynical, and highly watchable character is worthy of her Oscar nomination, but she’s not the only talented actor in the cast of “Rachel Getting Married.”
Unfortunately, only those who are willing to forego the many imperfections in the loosey-goosey script and director Jonathan Demme’s improvisational style will feel the acting makes the film worth seeing.
Be warned that the exotic wedding at the center of the film is not your typical Hollywood style ceremony, nor is it like one you will be invited to anytime soon. Like the film, the wedding seems to go on forever, as the film covers both the planning stages and the several days over which the bohemian affair takes place. Part Jewish influence, part Arabic decoration, and complete with lingering, roving musicians, the story unfolds at the family estate in upper Connecticut. And unfolds, and unfolds, and… You get the picture.
Say what you will about its duration, the party gets points for creativity.
Demme (“Philadelphia,” “The Silence of the Lambs”) is a fine director, and his risk-taking is evident in both the hand-held camera style and his willingness to simply follow actors around and let whatever happens happen. The whole experience, then, relies on our caring and believing in the characters.
Kym is ticked when she finds out she’s not her sister’s maid of honor, and Rachel’s displeasure with Kym’s problems stealing the limelight, create the main conflict in the story. But the dysfunction on display here, much of it narcissistic and-quite frankly, overacted-detracts from the film’s desire to be an authentic glimpse inside a home full of eclectic, quirky characters.
A dishwasher loading sequence seems forced and pretentious even though it apparently was based on a true event.
Overshadowed in Hathaway’s performance is the luminescent appearance of Debra Winger (as the sister’s mother) who seems to surface once every five years or so just to remind us of how great an actress she is and how much we miss her. A heated exchange between her character and Kym is the film’s highlight if for no other reason than the unscripted strategy works in this one scene, and we are spared all those ubiquitous musicians for a few minutes.
Rated R for language and brief sexuality.