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  Publicity Stills of
"Rachel Getting Married"
(Courtesy of Columbia TriStar)

Genre: Romance/Drama
Director: Jonathan Demme
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Bill Irwin, Anna Deavere Smith, Debra Winger
RunTime: 1 hr 54 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scene)
Official Website: http://www.sonyclassics.com/rachelgettingmarried/

Opening Day: 8 January 2009


"Rachel Getting Married" is a contemporary drama with an aggressive sense of humor about the return of an estranged daughter to the family home for her sister's wedding. Kym's (Hathaway) reemergence throws a wrench into the family dynamics, forcing long-simmering tensions to surface in ways both hilarious and heartbreaking. "Rachel Getting Married" paints a colorful, nuanced family portrait and is filled with the rich characters that have always been a hallmark of Jonathan Demme's films.

Movie Review:

If you have never been able to imagine Anne Hathaway as anyone else but her characters from The Princess Diaries and Ella Enchanted, Rachel Getting Married will be quite an awakening for you. Of course, this will not be her most serious role to date, she was in Brokeback Mountain and Havoc but this is the one movie that has really cemented her award-worthiness. She chews almost every scene that she is in and despite the title referring to her sister’s wedding, it is Hathaway as Kym who steals the show.

Jonathan Demme returns to directing a movie after his two documentary outings about Neil Young and Jimmy Carter. This is the Oscar winner who directed Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia but the style is somewhat different. It is obvious that Demme has had fun working on two back-to-back documentaries that it shows in Rachel Getting Married. The movie is shot with a view-cam and throughout the movie, you feel like you are a part of the gathering of people, a constant observer of what happens behind closed doors in the family.

Rachel Getting Married is about Kym (Anne Hathaway) decides to return home for her sister, Rachel’s (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding. Upon her return, she has to deal with her near perfect sister, her over-protective father (Bill Irwin) and her cold and distant mother (Debra Winger) who is separated from her father. What better time for a family to combust when the stress factor in planning a wedding is concerned. Old wounds are relived, feet are trampled on and hearts get broken, the essential ingredients in the making of a dysfunctional family.

Hathaway is brilliant as Kym as is destined for several nominations at least during the awards season. She leads a cast of people who are all more or less brilliant in their roles. This is further complemented by having several non-actors in the movie as well, playing their characters to a T. There was rarely a moment when a scene felt forced, in fact, this observer was content on being a part of the merry band of multi-racial friends and family. Never a dull moment I say.

There are only good things to say about this movie and the pairing of the four family members are very spot on. Bill Irwin is the father, torn between two daughters who are so different from one another that both cannot understand why he wants to protect the other. Debra Winger plays the ex-matriarch of the family who has re-married and always is cold and distant towards the rest. However, Rosemarie DeWitt provides the perfect fodder as Rachel to Anne Hathaway’s Kym as the two sisters finally revisit the past when things get heated. Every scene the siblings have make for tender, tense and heartwarming moments in the movie.

Demme has crafted a true-to-life movie from debutante, Jenny Lumet’s script. These are real people in real-time situations and sometimes, watching the truth does hurt. As an audience who is constantly in the thick of the action, the tide rise and falls quite swiftly sometimes and the ride is anything but choppy. However, that said, this is probably best described as a cathartic experience.

While this is not exactly a tour-de-force performance from Anne Hathaway who is in a beautifully haunting movie, it is very much worth the watch.

Movie Rating:

(A true-to-life depiction about family in a most brilliant way!)

Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri


. Bride Wars (2009)

. Get Smart (2008)

. Nights In Rodanthe (2008)

. Made Of Honor (2008)

. 27 Dresses (2008)

. Becoming Jane (2007)

. The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

. Havoc (2005)

. The Notebook (2004)


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