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Movie Review – Rachel Getting Married

January 4, 2009 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

When’s the last time you attended a wild and raucous wedding? A wedding that you had the pleasure of viewing from afar? If it’s been a while or if you just like going to weddings, then I’m inviting you to see Rachel Getting Married.

Rachel Getting Married is a film that reflects life in many ways. Filmed and edited in a documentary-like style, the filmmakers want us to feel like we’re actually there. But it felt “real” to me for a more profound reason. It reminded me of an age-old lesson: Many of life’s greatest victories are personal in nature. And they often come at the heels of even greater personal challenges.

In the film, Kym is the younger sister in a deeply dysfunctional family. She is temporarily released from a drug rehabilitation facility to attend her sister’s wedding. Is this a joyful event? Hardly.

You see, the wedding is haunted – not by supernatural forces, but rather by the events of the past. And the pieces of this family’s past slowly come together to form a tapestry that helps us to understand who each of them truly are. The father, mother, the sisters –  no one is left unexamined.

Does this sound downbeat to you? If so, let me tell you that there are some laughs along the way. It’s also jammed-packed with lively music. But more than that, this is a film that works hard to show us the humanity in the conflicts of this broken family. It doesn’t hide from nor linger on their struggles. But it does allow us to relate and see our own imperfections in their fictional family gathering.

Events simply ring true throughout this film. And there are plenty of surprises along the way. Among them, I found a new appreciation for the acting talent of Anne Hathaway. She’s probably best known for starring in much lighter fare like The Princess Diaries, Ella Enchanted and The Devil Wears Prada. The director, Jonathan Demme also impressed me. He’s better known for directing the hard-edge thriller, The Silence of the Lambs (with Anthony Hopkins and Jodi Foster). Here, Demme and Hathaway both shine in their hard-earned, understated work.

Rachel Getting Married
carries a mild “R Rating”. It does contain coarse language and some drug references. I wouldn’t recommend it for younger children. But for teenagers and above, I think it has some valuable lessons to teach.

If you see Rachel Getting Married, please let me know what you think. It’s currently playing in limited release and may soon open in more theaters due to considerable critical acclaim.

Be well!


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