Oscar Reviews: Rachel Getting Married

Andrew Huff (’10)/Eastside Staff

Oscar Nominations (1):

– Actress (Anne Hathaway)

A weekend with the family takes many twists and turns in the Jonathan Demme drama, Rachel Getting Married. Recovering alcoholic, Kym, struggling at the whim of personal demons, is let out of rehab for one weekend to see her sister, Rachel, get married.

Anne Hathaway stars as the unrelenting force of a seemingly-narcissistic and troubled young woman taking small steps towards inner, and familial, reconciliation.

Spanning two days at a racially and ethnically mixed wedding celebration, the film chooses to focus on the characters’ emotions and inner complexities rather than how they physically differentiate.

Combining scenes of subtle and loud drama, the film has a high level of emotional intensity. Patches of humor contribute to the lighter scenes of the film, mainly those involving wedding preparations, in addition to the actual ceremony.

A pivotal scene in the film involves the rehearsal dinner, during which various family members-to-be relay anecdotes about the lucky couple, allowing the audience to feel welcomed by the motley group.

In its entirety, the film exudes a constant sense of unity, through peaks and valleys.

While coming off as a brazen, abrasive woman, Kym really yearns for the reestablishment of tranquility. In a role that requires her to dig deeper into the core of human emotion, Anne Hathaway delivers a remarkable performance, capturing beautifully Kym’s flaws as she awkwardly settles back into life with her family.

The subtle, yet powerful Rosemarie DeWitt plays the bride-to-be Rachel, trying to let go of her sister’s many tragic mistakes.

Some things cannot be forgotten, the family soon learns, as the film’s most emotionally charged scene delves into the crossroads met by a family after death.

Hathaway’s character reaches her nadir for the second time in her life, as she seeks to remove the facade of forgiveness and find the real thing, primarily with her mother, played with grace by Debra Winger.

Hathaway and Winger have a brief but potent scene at the film’s climax, where the broken pieces of Kym’s world shatter again, and she finally learns to pick them up.

The film’s touching, gripping acting gains more force from the exceptional screenplay written by Jenny Lumet, her first.

Rachel Getting Married portrays honestly and truthfully the complexities of a family struggling to piece itself together; yet it also shows the resilience of a family through tragedy. The family searches for love, peace and smiles once again.