Twisted Sister

13 Oct

Do not be fooled by the trailer for Rachel Getting Married: It may look like a remake of Margot at the Wedding — last year’s very good movie about a bitter, unkind sister coming home for her sister’s wedding and wreaking havoc — but it’s not. Sure, the two movies have that basic plot in common, but Rachel cuts a lot deeper, with much sharper knives, and it’s much more painful to watch at times.

As directed by Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs), the action in Rachel unfolds naturally, and it’s captured in a hand-held vérité style that makes you feel like you are there. Kym (the excellent Anne Hathaway) has gotten out of rehab to attend her sister Rachel’s wedding. Kym is still dealing with a lot of unresolved internal pain and over the course of the weekend, she takes it out on nearly every member of her family. Rachel explores these familial issues, and the camerawork is effective in heightening the immediacy and pain of the situation, but the film never really resolves anything. So what we’re left with — other than some very good performances — is basically a home movie of a very awkward wedding weekend. And as such, there are some scenes, like the rehearsal dinner one, that just go on waaaaay too long. I hate going to a wedding where I don’t know anyone, and at times, that’s what I felt like I had done. I just wanted to slip out and leave. Rachel tops out at just under two hours and it should have been about 20 minutes shorter.

It’s impressive how the central couple’s mixed race is treated as a non-issue (it’s not ever referred to), and it probably should be repeated that Anne Hathaway is very good here, as is Rosemarie DeWitt, who plays Rachel. Alas, those scenes where they can really act come too infrequently in the movie and I found myself on an uncomfortable roller-coaster ride of emotion. So I’m going to keep my review to a B.

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