Stage and Cinema film and theatre reviews




picture - Rachel Getting MarriedMovie Review

by Chad Menville

published October 3, 2008


Rachel Getting Married

rated R

now playing at select theaters


As director Jonathan Demme has stated, he and director of photography Declan Quinn thought their film should try to look like "the most beautiful home movie ever made," as if every scene were captured on digital by a friend with a camera, or even by the ghost of a character whose death haunts [the Buchman] family. The result is Rachel Getting Married.


Coming off as a from-the-hip, unrehearsed dance, the cast is largely comprised of Demme's friends, family, neighbors and colleagues, all staying in the present – everything, even the title, reflects this spontaneity. Jenny Lumet, who wrote the script, brought a looseness and gutsy humor to this stylistically unglossy film. Though Altman-inspired, the cinematography's hand-held approach bears a closer resemblance to films like The Anniversary Party and Dancer in the Dark.


Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) is forced to cope with the re-emergence her sister Kym (Anne Hathaway). Kym, straight out of rehab, is navigating the early stages of her recovery and requires a great deal of acknowledgment. Accustomed to being the center of her father's orbit, Kym begins to atone for her deadly mistakes and reconcile with Rachel.


In this family portrait everyone is present for a specific purpose. Demme rarely planned a shot in advance, allowing the cameras to focus on the emotional honesty of wherever a scene took them.  As for the music score, the cast inspires the musicians, which in turn inspire the cast, riffing off of one another, stirring the undercurrent of every social situation. Such a bold approach reflects the strength of the entire cast as well as relaying what it is to be a part of a wedding or other momentary community where its perishability is imminent, a chemistry meant to be enjoyed and not duplicated.


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