Rachel Getting Married
dir Jonathan Demme
scr Jenny Lumet
with Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Debra Winger, Bill Irwin, Mather Zickel, Tunde Adebimpe, Anisa George, Anna Deavere Smith, Carol-Jean Lewis, Roslyn Ruff, Andre Blake, Kyrah Julian
release US 3.Oct.08, UK Oct.08 lff
08/US Sony 1h53
Rachel Getting Married
The wedding guest: Adebimpe, Hathaway and DeWitt

winger irwin demme

London film fest
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Rachel Getting Married Demme turns to Dogme-style filmmaking with this intimate family drama that's both funny and harrowing. Even if it's a bit overlong, a jolt of real life runs all the way through it.

Kym (Hathaway) is out of rehab for a weekend to attend her sister's wildly multi-ethnic wedding back home in Connecticut. And while she and Rachel (DeWitt) are close, there's also a lot of baggage in their relationship, mainly because Kym's constant crises have left the family broken. Their dad (Irwin) and his wife (Smith) are trying to keep everyone happy as they prepare for the big day, while their mother (Winger) is staying away as much as possible. And Kym recognises the best man (Zickel) from a Narcotics Anonymous meeting

Demme's low-key approach involves handheld cameras and background music played live on set, which creates a vividly authentic atmosphere of brittle humour and honest bitterness. And the actors keep their characters thoroughly grounded. Hathaway is remarkable as the attention-seeking Kym, charging through the film like Kym charges through the wedding, stealing everyone's thunder and making everything about her. Her snappy, snarky dialog is engaging, abrasive and often hilarious.

And everyone around her is superb--DeWitt gives a complex turn as the sister who's had put up with so much, Irwin is fantastic as the father who is trying too hard, Kieran is terrific as the only guy in the room who can even begin to understand. And then there's Winger, who literally lights up the screen with her radiant face and underlying steeliness. The chemistry between all of these people is utterly electric.

The film is packed with brilliantly painful interaction, from the excruciating speeches to the nasty accusations. Rachel's wedding brings out such a range of emotion for these people that we can't help but identify with the rich mixture of love and resentment among any group of friends and family. The film seems to get stuck in a rut in the final act, wallowing in the dysfunction and the tension between who we are and how others see us. But it's so tough and honest that even this repetition feels eerily realistic.

cert 15 themes, language, sexuality, some violence 3.Oct.08 lff

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Rachel Getting Married Michelle, London: 4/5 "This is certainly no Princess Diaries! A very gritty, realistic film with excellent acting. I wasn't too sure in the beggining but I really got enveloped into the story. I'd highly recommend this film to friends." (25.Feb.09)
© 2008 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall