Hathaway, DeWitt, Irwin and especially Winger are working at a very high level. So is their director. His intuition regarding how to film this particular milestone event, and the stories unfolding in the margins, turned out to be just right.
Rachel Getting Married is at its best in scenes featuring Hathaway's mercurial character. It's a triumphant and darkly nuanced role for her and a departure from the more lighthearted comedic performances she has given.
Rachel Getting Married has the sense to recognize that it only takes one lunatic to throw a family gathering out of kilter; this is not an exercise in competitive crazy like last year's irritating Margot at the Wedding.
Demme and screenwriter Jenny Lumet have given us an epic rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception that's half-cabaret, half group-therapy session, and completely multiracial, multicultural, and multisensory.
Alternately funny and gripping, this feature marks a welcome return to original drama for director Jonathan Demme, who's spent the last decade preoccupied with documentaries, concert movies, and remakes.
I hope that Rachel Getting Married is enough of a hit to sustain [Demme's] career of cinematic good works. And I hope also that Ms. Winger gets a long overdue Oscar for best supporting actress, as she is that without a doubt.
The script was written by Jenny Lumet in a loose, graceful style that allows the story to flow -- or sometimes ramble -- freely, and gives the actors all the room they need to invent and discover as they go along.
Acted and written with enormous style but with front and back doors open to experiment and surprise, it's a film that challenges you to keep a jogger's pace to keep up with it, then leaves you breathless.