Rachel Getting Married

rachelA modern-day prodigal, Kym (the beautiful Anne Hathaway) is the recovering drug-addict who takes a day’s leave from rehab to celebrate the wedding of her sister. But the cracks in their fragile relationship soon show when Kym’s problems threaten to upstage the bride on her big day.

In spite of its seemingly transparent title, Rachel Getting Married is far more concerned with the wastrel sister than Rachel herself. Wearing her scars like a badge of honour, Kym is at once vulnerable and bristlingly obnoxious, revealing her egocentric perspective at the most inappropriate of moments. One such incident is the wedding speech in which Kym offers an overblown apology for her behaviour over the years, once again taking the spotlight off the married couple, and back onto Kym and her “issues”. One can’t help but cringe.

Kym is no fool, however. Her drugs habit has taught her well the art of manipulation, and she directs her observations squarely around the faults of her family. “Are all of her latent food issues rearing their heads?” she inquires about her sister (Rosemarie DeWitt), referring to a previous bout of anorexia. Rachel also displays something of a Machiavellian streak. She is nearing the end of her doctoral studies in psychiatry, and has an infuriating habit of reducing everything her sister says and does to a set of predicable symptoms.

Jenny Lumet’s screenplay is caustic, witty and observant, and the writer has a talent for dropping into scenes unexpected revelations that heighten tensions further and send the film spinning off in surprising directions. During a secret tryst with the best man, Kym discovers she will not be, as she had assumed, the maid of honour, sparking a bitter quarrel with her usurper – a prissy, high school cheerleader type.

A mixture of handheld and traditional shots give the film the look of a documentary. Sometimes the camera weaves in and out of the guests, through doors and hallways, so that we observe events as would any of those in attendance.

The wedding itself is ghastly, makwish affair full of world music, sari-donning bridesmaids and self-penned vows. As the camera zooms in on Hathaway’s round, bruised eyes you expect her to reach for the drugs and the bottle at any moment. In the end it’s a confrontation with her stony-faced, divorced mother (played by Debra Winger) that pushes her over the edge.

One Response to “Rachel Getting Married”

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