Author Topic: "Rachel Getting Married" with Anne Hathaway  (Read 1634 times)

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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"Rachel Getting Married" with Anne Hathaway
« on: October 02, 2008, 10:38:11 pm »

http://movies.nytimes.com/2008/10/03/movies/03rach.html?8dpc

Movie Review
Rachel Getting Married (2008)



Rachel Getting Married From left, Debra Winger, Rosemarie DeWitt and Anne Hathaway star in this drama, opening Friday in New York and Los Angeles.


From left, Mather Zickel, Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt and Tunde Adebimpe in the drama “Rachel Getting Married.”

October 3, 2008
Out of Rehab, Wreaking Havoc

By A. O. SCOTT
Published: October 3, 2008

The problem in “Rachel Getting Married” — not the problem with the film, mind you — is that even though Rachel is the one getting married, it’s all about Kym, her younger sister. Kym, played by a decidedly un-princessy Anne Hathaway, is furloughed from rehab for the happy event, arriving at her father’s rambling Connecticut clapboard house on a toxic cloud of snark, cigarette smoke and wounded narcissism. With her pale, slack features and dark-rimmed eyes framed by severe bangs, Ms. Hathaway resembles the silent film star Louise Brooks in “Pandora’s Box,” except that Kym is less like the curious maiden of Greek mythology than like the box itself: a bottomless repository of guilt, destructiveness and general bad feeling.

And yet she is also an undeniably magnetic figure, drawing the attention of her father (Bill Irwin) away from Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) and pulling both the film’s and her family’s center of gravity toward the self-loathing, self-pitying core of her damaged personality. And like the family the film, directed by Jonathan Demme from a screenplay by Jenny Lumet, both accommodates Kym’s need for recognition and struggles against it.

The themes of dependency and recovery that Kym brings home in her overnight bag are familiar, even banal. Every unhappy family may be unique, but every addict is fundamentally the same, and if “Rachel Getting Married”  had surrendered its story completely to Kym, it would have risked becoming as drab and familiar as a made-for-television 12-step homily

But Mr. Demme protects the film against such an unsatisfying fate. He is certainly sympathetic to Kym, even as he and Ms. Hathaway conspire to show her at her appalling worst. But he has never been one to restrict his sympathies, and the wonderful thing about “Rachel Getting Married”  is how expansive it seems, in spite of the limits of its scope and the modesty of its ambitions. It’s a small movie, and in some ways a very sad one, but it has an undeniable and authentic vitality, an exuberance of spirit, that feels welcome and rare.

Neither the conceit nor the approach are all that unusual. In press materials Mr. Demme cites “A Wedding,”  Robert Altman’s marvelously anarchic 1978 pageant of bourgeois dysfunction, as an inspiration. He also shows a clear debt to the ostentatiously austere methods of the fading Dogma 95 movement. The audience only hears music that the people in the movie hear as well, and the proceedings are recorded by a busily wandering video camera, giving “Rachel Getting Married”  some of the rough, hectic intimacy of “The Celebration,”  Thomas Vinterberg’s Dogma tour de force about a family party knocked off kilter by secrets and recriminations.

Mr. Demme is neither as sadistic as Mr. Vinterberg nor as satirical as Mr. Altman. This is, after all, the man who directed “The Silence of the Lambs,”  surely the most humane serial-killer movie in the annals of the genre, as well as the infinitely tolerant “Philadelphia.”  (His more recent work consists of earnest documentaries like “Jimmy Carter Man From Plains”  and “The Agronomist”  and underrated updates of 1960s thrillers — “The Manchurian Candidate”   and “The Truth About Charlie." ) He is the kind of filmmaker who gives Hollywood liberalism a good name, and the most striking aspect of “Rachel Getting Married”  is how, without overt ideological posturing, it paints a faithful and affectionate (though hardly uncritical) portrait of blue-state America.

And this is where the movie turns out to be, after all, about Rachel, a lovely and complicated young woman whose adoring fiancé, Sidney (Tunde Adebimpe), is black. Rachel and Kym’s stepmother, Carol (Anna Deavere Smith), is also African-American, as far as we can tell. These facts are never mentioned by anyone in the movie, which gathers races, traditions and generations in a pleasing display of genteel multiculturalism. It’s a big, messy gathering even without Kym’s melodrama, so there may be no time for expressions of prejudice or social unease.

It might seem that this tableau is a kind of Utopian wish fulfillment, the naïve projection of a longed-for harmony that does not yet exist. To some extent this may be true, but the texture of “Rachel Getting Married”  is so loose and lived in, its faces (many of them belonging to nonprofessional actors) so interesting and real, that it looks more plausibly like a mirror of the way things are. It is not that racial division is willed away or made to disappear, but rather that, on this particular weekend, other matters are more important. A wedding, after all, represents a symbolic as well as an actual union, an intimation of possible perfection in a decidedly imperfect world.

And so it may be up to Kym, cynical and solipsistic, to save the movie from sentimentality, just as Rachel, embodied with calm intelligence by Ms. DeWitt, inoculates it against melodrama. Debra Winger, in a few quietly incandescent scenes as their mother, briefly lifts the movie onto another plane altogether, somehow combining movie-star charisma with an almost heartbreaking restraint and giving us a taste of what we’ve been missing in the years of her semi-retirement.

In any case, it would be a shame to miss “Rachel Getting Married,”  which may have its flaws, but which is so persuasively forgiving of the flaws of its inhabitants that you can only respond, in like spirit, with love.

“Rachel Getting Married”  is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). It has sex, drug use and emotional violence.

RACHEL GETTING MARRIED

Opens on Friday in New York and Los Angeles.

Directed by Jonathan Demme; written by Jenny Lumet; director of photography, Declan Quinn; edited by Tim Squyres; music by Zafer Tawil and Donald Harrison, Jr.; production designer, Ford Wheeler; produced by Mr. Demme, Neda Armian and Marc Platt; released by Sony Pictures Classics. Running time: 1 hour 54 minutes.

WITH: Anne Hathaway (Kym), Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel), Bill Irwin (Paul), Tunde Adebimpe (Sidney), Mather Zickel (Kieran), Anna Deavere Smith (Carol), Anisa George (Emma) and Debra Winger (Abby).


TRAILER:
RACHEL GETTING MARRIED
(2:24)
http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/411799/Rachel-Getting-Married/trailers
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
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and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
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Offline Ellemeno

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Re: "Rachel Getting Married" with Anne Hathaway
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2008, 02:55:19 am »
Wow.  To me the most striking thing is that Bill Irwin and Anna Deveare Smith play a married couple.  I love them both so much.



Offline Ellemeno

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Re: "Rachel Getting Married" with Anne Hathaway
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2008, 03:01:08 am »
And I was curious about Jenny Lumet's last name, and sure enough, she's Sydney's daughter, but even more interesting is her combination of relations, according to IMDb:

Ex-wife of Bobby Cannavale    (1994 - 2003) (divorced) 1 child
Daughter of director Sidney Lumet and Gail Lumet Buckley
Sister of sound editor Amy Lumet.
Granddaughter of singer-actress Lena Horne.
Ex-sister-in-law of P.J. O'Rourke.

From Lena Horne to P.J. O'Rourke.  Pretty intriguing.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: "Rachel Getting Married" with Anne Hathaway
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2009, 05:41:35 pm »
I finally saw this. I'm glad I saw it, but I'm glad it's over. The constant cigarette smoking combined with the jittery camera work made me physically ill! Maybe I was sitting too close...
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Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Re: "Rachel Getting Married" with Anne Hathaway
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2009, 12:09:10 am »


I finally saw this. I'm glad I saw it, but I'm glad it's over. The constant cigarette smoking combined with the jittery camera work made me physically ill! Maybe I was sitting too close...


I liked it. I thought Anne was great, I thought all of the actors were great, the direction was good, but I thought the screenplay (as such) was so....flimsy.

(I mean, that 'set piece' with Bill Irwin and--and with the dishwasher--??--who thought that  was a great idea?? During the (air quotes) 'story conference,' or when the Great Jonathan Demme decided to let the Great Bill Irwin just, you know, let loose  in the kitchen with the...dishwasher and then--you'll love this, Anne randomly pulls out the (*** * ****) by mistake, and---(really, I like Bill Irwin too, but--)  ::)

LOVED the blue elephant wedding cake, by the way. What did that cost, like--$10,000.00, don't you think? (Gosh--why am I so bitchy  tonight? I actually liked the movie. Go figure....)
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: "Rachel Getting Married" with Anne Hathaway
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2009, 10:17:13 pm »

LOVED the blue elephant wedding cake, by the way. What did that cost, like--$10,000.00, don't you think? (Gosh--why am I so bitchy  tonight? I actually liked the movie. Go figure....)

hehe, with the saris and the blue elephant wedding cake, it was sort of like a collision between Slumdog Millionaire, an Altman movie, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?
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Offline Fran

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Re: "Rachel Getting Married" with Anne Hathaway
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2009, 10:38:00 pm »
I thought you guys were joking about the cake... I see you weren't.  :)


It's definitely blue and an elephant -- with a rani and rajah, too.

retropian

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Re: "Rachel Getting Married" with Anne Hathaway(SPOILERS)
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2009, 10:17:40 pm »


I liked it. I thought Anne was great, I thought all of the actors were great, the direction was good, but I thought the screenplay (as such) was so....flimsy.

(I mean, that 'set piece' with Bill Irwin and--and with the dishwasher--??--who thought that  was a great idea?? During the (air quotes) 'story conference,' or when the Great Jonathan Demme decided to let the Great Bill Irwin just, you know, let loose  in the kitchen with the...dishwasher and then--you'll love this, Anne randomly pulls out the (*** * ****) by mistake, and---(really, I like Bill Irwin too, but--)  ::)

LOVED the blue elephant wedding cake, by the way. What did that cost, like--$10,000.00, don't you think? (Gosh--why am I so bitchy  tonight? I actually liked the movie. Go figure....)

I watched it tonight and really liked it. I love love love Bill Irwin. I think he was inspired casting here. I think the kitchen set piece was to illustrate how his character has dealt with the death of his son: false enthusiasm and distraction. But what happened will always be present, and it was Kym, his daughter whom he loves, who caused his sons death. Her handing him a plate used by her brother was a reminder of what he was trying so hard to avoid thinking about. It's how he deals with anything difficult. I think Kym in the end grew up some and began to realize she's not the center of the universe and she has to be responsible to herself.