Sunday, January 26, 2014

Rachel Getting Married (2008) [R] ****

Kym (Anne Hathaway) was a drug addict at sixteen, with a history of personal crisis and family conflict; she's been in and out of rehab for a decade. Now, her older sister Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) is getting married, and Kym has been given a short-term release from rehab to attend the wedding, at the family home in Connecticut.

But Kym is carrying a dark secret, one that has filled her with self-loathing, destroyed her parents' marriage and alienated her from Rachel. When Kym was sixteen and high on pills, she drove the family car off a bridge into a river, and was unable to get her baby brother Ethan out of his car seat in time. Unable to forgive herself for Ethan's death, Kym is also unable to forgive her now-remarried mother Abby (Debra Winger) for making her responsible for Ethan. Her father Paul Buchman (Bill Irwin) favors Kym, and doesn't give Rachel the love and respect she feels she deserves, while Paul's new wife Carol (Anna Deavere Smith) tries to placate Rachel and maintain emotional balance and harmony in the family.

Juxtaposed against this dysfunctional family and the sibling rivalry between Kym and Rachel, are the weekend's events of the wedding between Rachel and Sidney (Tunde Adebimpe) an African-American musician. Sidney's family, together with Rachel and Sidney's musician friends make up a large, colorful, eccentric, and ethnically diverse group which stands in sharp contrast to the Buchman family and Rachel's close friend Emma (Anisa George).

Starting with Jenny Lumet's sensitive, perceptive script, and relying on the compassionate direction of Jonathan Demme (Philadelphia), Hathaway gives a compelling, Oscar-worthy performance of a drug-addicted sociopath whose bi-polar reality barely overlaps with that of her family. If you enjoy independently produced dramatic films that present dark portraits of dysfunctional suburban families, films like Birds of America or Margot at the Wedding, you will likely enjoy Rachel Getting Married. 

Labels: drama, romance, wedding

Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 82/100
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=75, viewers=66)

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