When I hear the name Anne Hathaway my mind drifts to sappy romantic comedies and titles like Princess Diaries, Devil Wears Prada, and Bride Wars. Basically, I think of movies that are low on impact and have little to no weight after their initial viewing. Rachel Getting Married is an enormous departure from these movies for Anne Hathaway in content, and I am happy to say that her acting lived up to the expectations appropriate to such a drama.
Rachel Getting Married, directed by Jonathan Demme, follows Kym (Anne Hathaway) who is a young woman just leaving a rehabilitation center and reentering her homelife that is currently in a frenzy of new people and faces as her older sister Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) prepares for her impending wedding. The narrative unfolds slowly with the details behind family tension and Kym’s rehab experience revealing themselves naturally in the dialogue captured by the homemovie-like camera from the ensemble cast. Punctuated by live music played by characters in the film, Demme casts away the usual recipe for family dramas by exposing tensions and character flaws/complexities from the first scene rather than crafting an upright and happy family that is gradually broken down. The entire cast acts impeccably, making the story all the more believable. Altogether his choices make for an intense and visceral experience, one that feels almost too close to reality for comfort at times (which is emphasized by the presence of a handheld camera throughout the film, the soundtrack that is embedded in real time, and the pacing that is slow at times but rich with what feel like real family experiences). I give the movie an 8/10.