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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Painfully Real

    Anne Hathaway as a moody ex-junkie just out of rehab? Somehow, I just don’t buy it. That’s not to say that Jonathan Demme’s moving family drama “Rachel Getting Married” isn’t worth watching. As long as you have a box of Kleenex with you, that is.

    “Rachel,” like “Introducing the Dwights” or “Flight of the Red Balloon” (2007), is all about realism to the point of painful-to-watch, only tempered by the reality that families ultimately pull through and enjoy one another, no matter how screwed up they are.

    “Rachel Getting Married” centers around Kym (Hathaway), who is released from rehab for her sister Rachel’s wedding. Kym has been clean for nine months and is still dealing with many of her demons, as we learn throughout the movie.

    Heavy eyeliner, a haircut that looks like it was done with a machete, and dark clothes are supposed to code Hathaway, usually a bubbly naif, as troubled and complex.

    Rosemarie Dewitt (“Mad Men”) is much more believable in her role as the good but perhaps overlooked sister, who does not wish for her big day to be spoiled by her attention-seeking sister.

    Things are tense from the start as Kym wanders the house with a lit cigarette, complains about being under constant suspicion from her family, and makes a scene at the rehearsal dinner by giving her “12-step” apology to Rachel in the form of a blas’eacute; toast.

    The family’s dirty laundry slowly but surely unravels over the course of the film. Bill Irwin (“Across the Universe”), as the over-protective father, Anna Deveare Smith (“The West Wing”), as his second wife, and Debra Winger (“Forget Paris”), as Rachel and Kym’s mother round out a strong supporting cast.

    Although much of the film circles around Kym’s neuroses and how they have affected her family over time, “Rachel Getting Married” shakes things up by spending equal amounts of time portraying the wedding and its preparations.

    The wedding is Indian-themed and exotic strains of music, a multicultural set of wedding guests, and silky saris proliferate.

    The film attempts to include the viewer in the wedding preparations, the rehearsal dinner and the wedding itself. Its attempts at realism succeed in the sense that we feel as if we are flies on the wall at this festivity.

    Although it could perhaps be slightly shorter, the film is beautiful and moving, imbued with real emotion, and it reminds us that not every film about weddings has to be a soppy romance or a slapstick comedy. Most often, moving occasions like weddings are a mishmash of wonderful, happy moments and painful confrontations with the past and with the ones we love. And this is just what “Rachel Getting Married” attempts to capture, with much success.

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