Rachel Getting Married Reviews
Loved it even more on the second viewing.
The wedding is merely the backdrop in which a tale is woven about love, and more importantly life and all the ambiguities and grey areas that make it so profound. There is an undercurrent of a tragedy and how that effects everyone involved, but the tragedy isn't really the crux of the film either, just a bubbling cesspool that burbles just below the surface, only to erupt in a myriad of ways, alternately irritating and heartbreaking.
In a typical hollywood treatment, the tragedy would be front and center and the film very staged and stagnent - which is deffinatly not the case here; as a seemingly endless ensemble cast flows in and out of the narrative, just as it would be if you were filming a wedding party.
Surely, a film shot in such a unique fashion has it's drawbacks, and this film is far from perfect, with several scenes going on too long, but again, just like real life (as if you were a guest at the wedding itself).
I was amazed at the way this film held together and how Demme masterfully handled all the group shots (which is nearly the entire film). I also thought his idea for the "incidental music" to be brilliant, having all the friends and musicians jamming throughout the 72 hours that the film portrays - adding to the feel of the film without shoving the music in your face - it's simply always there in the backround, part and parcel of the wedding scenery itself - wonderful! The only drawback to such an approach is that it makes some of the editing obvious; as when a song suddenly cuts out to be replaced by another different song when there is a change of scene - a minor flaw that can be easily forgiven.
Demme took a lot of chances in presenting the film in the fashion that he did, and for the most part we are well rewarded for his verve. That he was able to make most all of the rehearsal dinner speaches interesting and somehow more meaningful than they deserved to be shows that he was fully in control of the film's tone from start to finish.
The writing really is artful. Lumet clearly has a clear understanding of family relationships and and dynamics, and that's a big part of what makes this movie so good. None of the characters seem inauthentic, and none of the dialogue feels contrived. Everything an everyone makes sense within the story, and it lends the movie a level of realism that could almost be from a documentary. I loved it.
As for the actors, as I said before, every role is wonderful. Each actor turns their character into a real, breathing person, and you feel lie you're peering into the lives of some actual people in Stamford, CT. Anne and Rosemarie DeWitt are charged with most of the heavy acting, and they hit it out of the park. Outstanding, all around.
The story is sad, uncomfortable, funny, and joyous. I like movies that can invoke a variety of different emotions from the audience, and Rachel Getting Married is a prime example of that. If you like complex characters and compelling family dramas, then this is the movie for you.
I think it is simply irresponsible to say -this wouldn't have happened, this isn't realistic enough, this person would have never said that.. because family dynamics are usually pretty weird to by-standers and that's what I was to this film, a spectator. The film tries to be involving, and succeeds to a certain degree, but there is a well- established limit to its intimacy (I can't tell whether it was intentional or not). Rachel Getting Married is as intimate as a homemade wedding video. If you watch it, you feel that you have access to very personal memories of the couple, but that's it. A wedding video doesn't include insights, only registers behaviors and dialogue, without backgrounds, or wanders off in contemplation or lingers on anything that isn't very obviously concerned to the wedding.
The film has some very cute moments, sad moments, and good music. It has a lot of color and plenty going on, there's always someone singing or talking... I would say it stays very basic in the possibilities of telling a story cinematically, and this stands out simply because it is evident that it could have gone further.
Anne Hathaway's performance is good, but I wouldn't say any better than Rosemarie DeWitt's, or any of the cast for that matter. Jonathan Demme did find himself fine actors, and that's the main attractive.
Rachel Getting Married is enjoyable but -in spite of some visceral moments- it stays a little shallow. Showing people talking like people in "real life" is entertaining but it isn't enough to secure a profound film; it's a good way to get a message across in a compelling way, but it isn't brilliance.
Beyond Hathaway, though, there isn't much else to watch in this film: the supporting cast is populated with types who do a decent job but who don't keep up with the star. The shooting is interesting, as by times it cuts to a relative's video camera and gives a grainy home video feel to the action, but Jonathan Demme is guilty of "just letting the camera run" a little too often: this film could have been a fair bit shorter, and it seemed that there was a lot of filler. In one sense he could be said to be exploring the varied music at the wedding, but in another sense he could've been stretching out something that might not fill an hour on TV.
There are pros and cons to it, but yes, I do recommend it, even if it's little more than the chance to see one of this generation's best young acting talents separate herself from the pack. A worthwhile rental.
Hathaway balances nihilistic fury and tender heartbreak as the trouble black sheep of the family who's been released from rehab to attend the nuptials. A tremendous supporting cast also offer strong performances, particularly Debra Winger as the estranged mother.