Rachel Getting Married movie review
The film, Rachel Getting Married is a emotional journey. Oscar nominated actress Anne Hathaway stars in the film. The story has many layers. The film is available on DVD.
The film begins with Anne's character, Kym leaving a rehabilitation center for alcoholism. She is cursed out by a fellow patient while waiting for her ride to arrive. When it does, she hesitantly says goodbye to her counselor who wishes her good luck.
The people that pick her up from the facility are her father and stepmother, and so the journey begins. In the car, Kym asks a lot of questions about how the family is. Mostly she asks about Rachel, her sister who is about to get married.
When Kym, her father and her stepmother arrive at the house, Kym explores to see what has changed, if anything. She greets her sister enthusiastically and seems annoyed by her sister's best friend who is also present.
The girls go on to chat a lot and catch up on old times. Kym asks Rachel about how her studies for her Ph.D. in Psychology are developing. Rachel says that she has a year and a half to go before attaining her degree.
Shortly after, Rachel has to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting as well as give a urine sample at a clinic. She asks to borrow her father's car and he shows his anxiety even though she is currently sober and has her license. Kym's father, played by Bill Irwin, asks her, "Can't we work something else out." Albeit with frustration, Kym agrees to bike to the meeting. She arrives late and annoyed but quickly sits and settles down. The meeting is enlightening for her and she seems very contemplative as she participates. The meeting ends with the closing prayer, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
As Kym heads back to the house, her father greets her with a sandwich and she is introduced to some people, including her sister's fiance. Another one of the guys is the best man and she recognizes him from the AA meeting she just attended. Somehow that attracts them to each other and they feel a connection shortly followed by a tryst. Kym jokes that it is fitting for the best man and the maid of honor to get together, but he quickly tells her that he heard that the maid of honor was to be Rachel's best friend. Kym is visibly surprised and upset and later confronts Rachel to ask her why she did not choose her as the maid of honor. Rachel feels guilty and asks her friend to relinquish the honor to Kym. It all seems very contrived but Kym is satisfied that she is now maid of honor.
The story continues, surrounding the festive events of the wedding but with a continuous veil of sadness and tragedy over it all. We find darkness not just in Rachel's character and her addiction but we get clues that something else is causing the family much suffering.
Rachel Getting Married movie poster
(Review continues below. Warning: continued review contains SPOILERS)
It is not long before we learn that the further cause of suffering is the premature death of Rachel and Kym's brother Ethan, when he was a young child. Kym also feels as sense of responsibility and guilt because she was driving while intoxicated when Ethan died. It occurred when she was sixteen and took him to the park. On the way back, she drove the car off a bridge and Ethan drowned. She was unable to save him. The details of the event come to light when Kym discloses them during one of her AA meetings but we are given clues throughout the movie before. From the opening scene at the rehabilitation center, where a fellow patient taunted her, one of the things he said was, "kill anybody lately with your car?" We recognize that Kym is haunted by some tragic accident and it is not long before we learn it is her brother's death.
The whole family grapples with the situation of Kym's feelings of guilt while they still mourn their family member. Just as Kym can't find forgiveness and peace, the family sometimes perpetuates it and makes her feel worse, especially her sister, Rachel and her mother, played by Debra Winger. Rachel reminds Kym that she is being "Woe is me?" when the whole family feels the pain of the events not just Kym. Rachel especially wants to remind Kym of this after the wedding rehearsal dinner and Kym's inappropriate speech.
Her mother also participates in a highly intense scene in the movie where you see the underpinnings of laying the blame. Only Kym's father, Bill Irwin's character seems to be very supportive, reminding Kym that it was an accident but he has a lot of trouble staying strong himself while he supports her. Kym still resents him because he is overly doting and cautious.
One of the lightest moments in the film is perhaps a contest between Rachel's fiance and Rachel and Kym's dad to see who can load the dishwasher the fastest. The family is actually laughing and really seems to be enjoying themselves. The moment is only fleeting because soon Rachel and Kym's dad stumble upon a plate that is personalized for Ethan. Everyone notices and becomes sad.
This film is a drama that exposes a lot of raw emotion and by its end we feel like we have been taken on a trip through very intricate family dynamics.
Things are still rocky between Kimmy and her mother.
Kimmy and Rachel have had a turning point where their relationship is beginning to mend.
Kimmy's father finds himself unable to even say goodbye to her as she has to leave after the wedding to go back to rehab.
As we can see the movie is not just about Rachel Getting Married at all, but about so much more. "Rachel Getting Married" is a teasing title for the emotional rollercoaster the film audience is about to embark on.
The film is captivating and if you do rent it on DVD, you will not be likely to pause it or watch an hour today and an hour tomorrow. You will stick with the story until its end.
I rate it: 3.5/5 **** stars.
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Written by: Jenny Lumet
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Bill Irwin, Debra Winger, and others
Running Time: 113 minutes