Reviews of Rachel Getting Married
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Di usia yang menginjak 64 tahun, sutradara Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia) masih belum berhenti untuk menghasilkan karya-karya luar biasa. Film terakhirnya, drama keluarga Rachel Getting Married, malah dapat disebut sebagai salah satu karya terbaiknya.
Rachel Getting Married sendiri berkisah mengenai Kym (Hathaway), seorang aktris yang telah berulang kali keluar masuk panti rehabilitasi, yang melakukan kunjungan ke rumah keluarganya untuk menghadiri pernikahan kakaknya, Rachel (DeWitt). Kembalinya Kym ke keluarganya tersebut sendiri menimbulkan cukup banyak drama, khususnya mengenai hubungan antara Kym dengan adik dan ayahnya.
Yang pertama harus diperhatikan dari Rachel Getting Married adalah jalan cerita film ini yang begitu kuat, dengan setiap detail yang diceritakan secara teliti. Dan itu berarti sebuah pujian ditujukan bagi Jenny Lumet, penulis naskah cerita film ini, yang juga adalah putri dari Jonathan Demme. Lihat bagaimana Lumet menggambarkan adegan rehersal dinner, dimana tiap orang dengan saling berbagi kisah konyol tentang sang calon pengantin, namun kemudian dicampur dengan ekspresi wajah Kym yang depressive karena merasa terbuang dari keluarganya. Amazing!
Mungkin tidak akan ada yang dapat membayangkan kalau Anne Hathaway memerankan Kym yang depressive ini. Ternyata, Hathaway mampu melepaskan image gadis baik-baik dan cheerful yang selama ini telah melekat padanya. Memang, Hathaway pernah berperan dalam Havoc dan Brokeback Mountain. Namun ia sama sekali belum pernah memerankan seorang karakter wanita sekelam dan se-depressive Kym. Dan memang, keberhasilan Hathaway dalam menghidupkan tokoh Kym adalah pembuktian dirinya kalau ia adalah seorang aktris yang patut diperhitungkan.
Peran Hathaway di film ini juga didukung dengan dukungan akting yang sangat memuaskan dari seluruh cast di film ini. Performa Rosemarie DeWitt yang berperan sebagai Rachel adalah salah satu yang paling standout diantara lainnya.
Jonathan Demme sendiri mengemas Rachel Getting Married seolah-olah para penonton akan melihat film ini sebagai sebuah rekaman dokumentasi mengenai apa yang terjadi beberapa hari menjelang pernikahan Rachel, yang akan membuat para penontonnya terhubung dengan masing-masing karakter dan merasa menjadi bagian dari sebuah keluarga yang bermasalah ini. Dengan minimnya iringan musik, yang membuat aura kelamnya suasana film ini lebih terasa, membantu Rachel Getting Married menjadi salah satu drama gloomy yang cukup memuaskan.
Rate: 4 / 5
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
Demme’s use of music was impressive. The music does not only serve as a mood setter but it also helps connect the dots of the story towards the moment we’ve all been waiting for – the wedding day of Rachel. We know something big was going to happen that day – and Demme did not disappoint us.
I also would like to mention that the performances are all great, and directing these pool of people was a tough job but Demme just pulled it off effortlessly. This film may alienate some because of the use of hand-held cam, but I think this is justified because the director would like to bring to us what it feels like to be part of that big ceremony: the highs and lows of it.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
My only criticism of an otherwise great film was the camera work, if I wanted to watch a documentary, I’d rent something from Errol Morris. Other then that, I found Rachel Getting Married to be very well done, the acting was great and the screenplay’s dissection of a family trying to heal after a devasting loss just felt right to me. It asks serious questions about a family’s duty to their loved ones that are battling addiction and the responsibilities they have when trusting those same individuals with a child. Also, I found the whole wedding ceremony to be utterly facsinating with its blend of different cultural rituals, food and music. Overall a great film for anyone that enjoys serious, well-acted cinema.
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
The worst serious movie I have ever sat through from beginning to end. The jumpy home video style and the incessant editing grew tiresome after 10 minutes. Compounding on these problems is the non-stop playing of music at the house. It never ends. All day, all night, they play and play and play. I didn’t find the acting good, and thought the performance of the father was pure schmaltz. Everytime he was on the screen he looked like he was about to cry.
The characters and stories were pretentious and contrived. These are incredibly vain people living in a world of cliches. We do not know that one of the reasons that Kym has problems or that the child died is because of the mother’s neglect until later in the movie. We are led to believe it is Kym’s fault until the end when we finally find out that the mother was really to blame. A very bad plot fault for me. Speech after speech after speech at the dinner table. A game to see who could load more dishes into the dishwasher all as a ploy to get to the child’s dish and engender some audience reaction for the father. I had no interest in these people or Kym’s incredibly selfish behavior. Half the time she acted like she was on a cocaine freak out.
Within five minutes, I thought of an attempt at Cassavetes, but without anything that makes Cassavetes good.
- Currently 1.0/5 Stars.
Anne Hathaway was all the buzz this year at the Toronto Film Festival. I will admit to being skeptical, never really seeing her as much more than a pretty face. People would say how brave and fearless she was in Havoc and Brokeback Mountain, but does taking your clothes off constitute a good actress? If you ask Marissa Tomei right now, she may say yes, but for me, I need some emotively wrought performances to put on my stamp of approval. However, it was not just Hathaway that gave me doubts here; her director is Jonathan Demme. Besides Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia, I’ve never quite been a huge fan of his either. With all that said, Rachel Getting Married seems to have caught all involved at the Earth’s perfect rotational position, because it is absolutely wonderful. Hathaway and company give powerful turns in an emotionally devastating film; wearing its realism on its sleeve at all times with help from Demme’s handheld style. A mix of Pieces of April infused with the few good parts of Margot at the Wedding—this film shows the heartbreak of tragedy even on the cusp of a joyous occasion. It puts its characters in confrontational positions to allow the repressed feelings surface and flow out, as Hathaway’s Kym must make amends with those around her, all while trying to find a way towards self-forgiveness.
The film commences a few days before Rachel’s wedding. She is hard at work getting it all ready with help from her father, stepmother, and friends, eagerly awaiting the return of her sister Kym from a nine-month stint in rehab. Kym is sober for the first time in a long time, coping with her re-assimilation into society by having to deal with a large group of people she is close to (family) and a stranger to (the groom’s family) all of which know her troubles. She goes straight from a controlled environment to a highly volatile and stressful world that she isn’t sure she can work in. Needing both the attention and the privacy to deal with what is going on in her head, she makes outbursts and awkward situations for herself and those around her, taking the spotlight away from Rachel who desperately needs it after a life playing second fiddle to her sister’s troubles. They are siblings that love each other, but they can’t put their own personal issues aside to relate fully to the other’s problems. Rachel despises Kym for what she did as a 17 year-old, in effect destroying their family, and also for coming back right at the moment when she finally had all eyes on her. It’s a misplaced jealousy towards Kym’s explosive lifestyle that, while overturning their world, made her into the center of attention, being worried about for the bad while she Rachel was pushed to the background for doing nothing but good.
Rachel Getting Married is a slice of life that digs into the psyche of a family torn apart and brought back together without time for reconciliation. The wedding is in full swing and there is no time to talk. So, instead, we see the strong pinpoints of devastation rearing their heads at all the wrong times. The sisters are emotionally vulnerable and when things don’t go their way, don’t think before letting those emotions out. Forgiveness takes time, but the high stress involved in the wedding doesn’t allow for it; therefore screaming, hitting, and crying abound as feelings no longer can be kept in check with everyone’s guard down from the toll of long days and nights planning, trying to get the ceremony as perfect as can be. But maybe that is exactly what is needed in a situation such as this. With all inhibitions gone, the truth can come out and hopefully reconcile itself even if its introduction comes from exploding bombs. With no time to candy-coat, Kym sees that her blanket apology at the rehearsal dinner just won’t be good enough. These things must be done from the heart; rehab doesn’t work if you continue to lie, not just to others, but also to yourself.
While Demme may show it all with a genius up-close and personal style, one must credit Jenny Lumet for a fantastic script. We are shown all the mundane and private events culminating into the wedding from the rehearsal dinner filled with an eclectic group of people to the quaint moments such as a dishwasher loading competition between the groom and father of the bride to release of energy and emotion on the dance floor during the reception. This is such a personal film that it almost seems too much at times because of the sheer realism to it all. Anne Hathaway, as Kym, is just superb, proving her worth in Hollywood; she is a revelation. The angst and spoiled, attention-grabbing ego come across great, but it’s the little things that truly shine, the moments when she makes amends with the three people she has been avoiding for too long, namely Rachel, her father, and her mother. When she finally relays what happened, to both drive her deeper into addiction and break her family apart, at a therapy session, you believe every word and every tear. That monologue itself, along with her distant stares and revelations of her own selfishness as the film continues, shows how fearless this performance is. Devastatingly real and heartbreakingly effective, Hathaway deserves all the acclaim.
But it is not just a showcase for this ex-Disneyfied actress; no the supporting cast is just as good. The musically inclined group of people are wonderfully fleshed out, whether it be the groom, (TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe’s Sidney), and his family, or Rachel and Kym’s father, (Bill Irwin’s Paul), and his friends, there is music playing and being sung at all times. Adebimpe’s singing of Neil Young at the altar ends a sequence that proves to be the best exchange of wedding vows ever, really powerful and heartfelt stuff. As far as an emotional bundle of nerves, Irwin is mind-blowingly good. Here is a father giving his daughter away, joining forces with a new family, discovering he will be a grandfather, and trying to shield Kym through it all so she doesn’t think they don’t want her there. He is juggling everyone else’s emotions that when his own come to the surface, he becomes a completely beaten man, all semblance of the collected façade gone. And then there is Mather Zickel, a supposed friend of “The State” comedy crew if his filmography is to be believed, as the best man and rock to Kym’s mess of nerves going through group therapy for the first time … a very strong performance as well.
In the end, though, it is all about the three women—mother and daughters—that hold this piece together. I’ve already sung Hathaway’s praises, but mention needs to be made for Rachel’s Rosemarie DeWitt and their mother’s Debra Winger. Much like Kym hasn’t forgiven herself (and is her line saying she hopes there is no God if that God would ever forgive her for what she did not the most amazing sentiment, no matter how uncompromising a viewpoint it is?) Winger holds some definite regret and responsibility as well. Her actions at the wedding help show what real family means; it is not always about whom you came from. And as for DeWitt, she is just beautiful at all turns, inside and out. She portrays throughout how her sister’s life has affected her, how the lives and tragedies don’t only destroy the one doing, but also those being done to. This is as much a tale of Kym’s reconciliation as Rachel finally breaking free to become her own woman, outside of the self-imposed shadow she made of her sister. This wedding is truly about beginnings, not for the new union only, but also the family that has been slowly tearing itself apart from the inside.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
Rachel is getting married at her father and step-mother’s huge house in Connecticut. Kim (Anne Hathaway) has been away getting treatment in drug rehab. Kim and Rachel’s mom has re-married as well and lives across town. Kim comes back into her family’s life for a couple days leading up to the wedding. Kim is committed to staying clean, but by being back with her family she is reminded of all the guilt and dark issues she has been forced to deal with. Rachel doesn’t want Kim’s issues getting in the way of her wedding, her happiness. The whole family has lots of tension and explodes in several arguments in between the wedding planning. Most of the movie is Kim vs. Rachel. Rachel represents life moving on, a wedding bringing people together. Anne Hathaway as Kim gives a stellar performance (which was awarded an Oscar nom) and is a reminder of past tragedy. Yet the movie draws your attention to Kim trying to deal with her demons, and not to the action of the title, or at least it did for me. Kim is not a total lost cause. She goes to addict meetings where she meets Kieran (Mather Zickel) who also happens to be the best man of Sidney, Rachel’s new husband. I was impressed by Mather’s performance as well. I especially like the scene at one of the addict meetings where Kim finally reveals the real source of her guilt, and says she has a hard time with this idea of God taking her guilt. Maybe she doesn’t want help from some God.
There are a few other things I want to mention about the movie. The camera work is almost all hand-held to give it a home movie feel. I did think that this style of camera work added to the effect of Kim’s childhood home seeming impossibly large when she returned to it at the beginning and otherwise mirrored the inner instability of Kim. The wedding party and guests are very culturally diverse, which I like, and I think with it being released near the election season adds some layers to its meaning. However, this liberal ideal of cultures mixing should not be seen as a naive peace and love and flowers type of world. This movie reveals the arguments and uncomfortableness that can still exist during this time of coming together. Eclectic music plays a big role in the tone of this film too. Because the house where most of the action takes place is so enormous it feels like the castle of a lord and lady. Sidney, Rachel’s new husband, is a musician and so brings many musician friends to the festivities. There is one group of three guys with violin, mandolin or guitar, and some percussion thing who are always around in the dinging room, out in the yard, or on the porch. They made me think of medieval minstrels and did get a little annoying. There are two scenes that I thought were too long and distracted from the spine of the story. One was when Rachel and Kim’s dad has a dishwasher loading competition with Sidney. What in the world is that anyway, a dishwasher loading competition!? The other scene was the reception and dance after the wedding. Song after song after song with wedding guests dancing on and on and on was fun at first, but then became something out of Step Up. Eventually the movie gets back to the story you came to see. Kim meets someone who understands what she’s going through and is able to not be the center of attention in order to let her sister’s wedding be the celebration it deserves to be. The movie doesn’t end tragically as many indie pics might, but leaves you with some hope for redemption.
- Currently 3.0/5 Stars.