- Released Internationally on 31/10/08
- Released in Malta by KRS on 25/03/09
In a nutshell
As you may have suspected, Rachel is getting married. What you might not know though, is that Kym, her whirlwind younger sister, is taking a break from her rehab program to come join the festivities. With everyone under one roof for the wedding weekend, familiarity just might breed contempt.
Here comes the bride
Maybe it’s because we’ve all been to at least one, or maybe it’s because they are recognizable across cultures and religions, but there’s something immensely watchable and absorbing about weddings on the big screen. From Four Weddings and Funeral to Wedding Crashers and from Love Actually to Braveheart, weddings (and funerals) have provided some of the most memorable and amusing scenes of the past two decades. And this time around, the wedding dominates from the first frame to the last, with a constant flow of emotions, both high and low.
The film is shot in a seemingly home-made fashion, without adding too much Hollywood gloss to the proceedings, or stooping to the distracting hand-held camera antics that were needed for Cloverfield or The Blair Witch Project. It works by adding an extra sense of realism to what is essentially a very intimate and very private look at family dynamics over a urbulent weekend. It often feels like you’re prying on someone else’s soul-bearing moments and thankfully the dysfunctional family in question has more than enough going on to keep us involved.
Shiva the destroyer
While Rachel’s name is on the invitation, the film is very much about Kym, and their relationship with each other and their estranged parents. With an unstable history of substance abuse and worse, Kym has long been the black sheep of the family, and her return is met with both affection and an underlying hesitancy and caution. Every one of the many guests knows or gets to know what she’s been through, so she tries her best to wear a brave face and enjoy the festivities. But sibling rivalry inevitably creeps in when the focus of attention isn’t always the lady in white.
Who’s in it?
Director Jonathan Demme is no stranger to bringing out the best in his cast, with Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia under his belt. He doesn’t disappoint here, and the above-mentioned sense of realism owes as much to the camera-work as to the seamless performances from the entire cast. Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada, Brokeback Mountain) plays against type and is excellent as Kym, to the point that by the time she gets up to speak during the rehearsal dinner, you’re as wary as the guests about whether she’ll say something grossly inappropriate. Relative newcomer to the big screen Rosemarie DeWitt is equally impressive as the titular bride, and the relationship between the two is as believable as it is rocky. Debra Winger (Terms of Endearment, An Officer and a Gentleman) adds a touch of class as their saddened mother, and Bill Irwin (who is instantly recognizable from Robert Altman’s Popeye) gives one of the most heartfelt portrayals of the whole guest list as the father desperately trying to hold his family together. He even manages to turn a playful dishwasher-loading scene into a heart-stopping moment. The original screenplay is by Jenny Lumet, who gets her movie genes from her dad.
In the end
The weekend passes in a flash, and the wedding doesn’t disappoint, however once it’s all over, I couldn’t help feeling that everything was returning back to normal. Despite all the re-enforced relationships or differences, there’s not much change or growth going on apart from Rachel’s marital status. Maybe that’s the whole point – maybe this is just a snapshot of their lives, but still, it’s left up to the audience to imagine what the future holds for Kym and co.
Trailer:http://www.apple.com/trailers/sony/rachelgettingmarried/ (High-res Quicktime)