Rachel Getting Married


It’s not surprising that the late, great Robert Altman is thanked in the credits to Jonathan Demme’s film, Rachel Getting Married. The style of the movie is, dare I say, Altman-esque. In Altman’s films, there’s a focus more on character than on story, it feels like a natural, organic process, rather than a film where the strands of the plot is connected like a dot to dot coloring book. Rachel Getting Married is like that. It’s a spontaneous, rich, supremely acted movie.

The film concerns a young woman named Kym (played by Anne Hathaway in an Oscar nominated role) returning home from rehab for her sister’s wedding. To call the family dysfunctional would be an understatement, but this isn’t a typical depiction of a family in turmoil. Watching this film is eerily close to watching home movies, meaning it captures the dynamic of a specific family so well that it seems real.

Jonathan Demme is a director hard to pin down, he has directed so many different kinds of movies, worked in so many kinds of genres, that it’s not like you can label him. Here he creates a remarkable film, a celebration of life, love and the joy of movies. I never know what to expect from this guy.

Anne Hathaway has been getting most of the accolades for this film, but make no mistake, this is an ensemble film. The whole cast is brilliant, with Rosmarie DeWitt as Rachel, Bill Irwin as their father, Anna Deveare Smith as his second wife, Debra Winger as the girls’ mother, Tunde Adebimpe as Rachel’s groom to be and Mather Zickel as the best man. The work of DeWitt and Irwin especially is heartbreakingly good, and both deserved Oscar nods. Two scenes that stand out, in my mind, are the scene where a good natured game of washing dishes progresses in unexpected ways, and a scene with Hathaway and Winger that shows the two women at their most vulnerable, and most powerful. Oh, and who can forget the wonderful moment where Adebimpe sings Neil Young.

Rachel Getting Married is a fresh, exciting film that feels unlike many movies this year. Look fast for cameos by Demme regulars Paul Lazar and Roger Corman.

Leave a Reply