Rachel Getting Married

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Ever since listening to the Rachel Getting Married Soundtrack, Iíve been interested in seeing the movie.  Itís not that the soundtrack was all that great Ė I had found it less than memorable.  However, in performing my regular research on the movie, I found the premise of the film rather interesting.  I had heard great things about Anne Hathawayís performance in Rachel Getting Married, so I decided to check the movie out.

                When Kym (Anne Hathaway) decides to go home for her sisterís Rachelís (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding, she already knows that her return will be anything but easy.  Kym is a recovering addict and has only been clean and sober for a short time.  She has just a few days to spend outside of her latest rehab to take part in the wedding and already, she is feeling the walls closing in.  Her father (Bill Irwin) is already crowding her, looking for signs that she may relapse.  Her sister has chosen her best friend (Anisa George) as her maid of honor instead of Kym.  The house is crowded with loads of people and musicians she doesn't know that never seem to know when to go home.

                But the real issue lurking behind every minor mishap at this wedding is Kym's guilt over something that happened while she was using and someone who will not be able to attend Rachel's wedding.  With help from a local AA group and the best man (Mather Zickel), who happens to be a recovering addict himself, Kym does her best to work through what for any addict will be one of the hardest five days to endure...five days with her family and the one major mistake she made in her past that she can never forgive herself for.

                What I had heard about Hathaway's performance in Rachel Getting Married was highly under-rated.  She aced the role of Kym, making her someone we can root for, while still offering up sides of her that the audience will not be so happy with.  This is a very human character with very human flaws.  Anyone who has dealt with a recovering addict - a family member, a friend, a co-worker - will be able to see some of that person in this character.  Anne Hathaway was insanely believable as Kym, a huge departure from her previous acting roles.  You can feel her pain, you can be angry with her and at her, but in the end, you understand her and hope for her success.

                Rosemarie Dewitt was also terrific as Kym's sister Rachel, a young woman striving to be the center of attention for once in her life.  Kym has always had her father's attention as the troubled child...the child who went astray.  But Rachel has been the solid, dependable one, always walking on eggshells, wondering when someone will notice her in a positive way.  As much as she loves her sister, she is terrified that Kym will pull one of her drug-addled antics and ruin the one day in her life that is supposed to be all about her.

                Another incredible performance comes from Debra Winger as Abby, Rachel and Kym's seemingly disinterested mother.  Having divorced the girls' father and marrying another man, Abby has moved on in her life, leaving her children behind, perhaps because of the painful memories their faces evoke.  The audience's introduction to the character of Abby leaves them feeling curious as to her distracted and seemingly disinterested nature, but eventually the audience learns the real reasons behind her strange behavior regarding her daughters and we see some gut-wrenchingly dramatic acting that eventually leaves the viewer in need of some Kleenex.

                There are some critics of the film who believe that the home movie style of the film was a problem for them.  I believe that this was the perfect format to convey the extremely personal nature of a family who is dealing with the issues of addiction.  I also take issue with those critics who didn't like the unfinished nature of the film's ending.  Well, an addict's struggle with sobriety is an on-going thing - it never ends and therefore, the movie's "non-ending" was perfect.  Leaving the ending open as it was reflects the idea that Kym's struggle with sobriety is open.  She could succeed or she could fail.  I enjoyed the fact that things weren't wrapped up in a neat little package with Kym finding and keeping sobriety and all being right with the world.  This was a realistic ending that should be praised.

                All-in-all, I felt that Rachel Getting Married was a highly enjoyable movie experience with incredibly dramatic performance and a storyline that many people can relate to.  But be forewarned: you will need tissues by the movie's end.


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