Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Rachel Getting Married

"We are one, all of us. And this is how it is in heaven. Just like this."-Sydney's mom(Carol Jean Lewis)

I swear I got a little teary eyed watching that scene again in the trailer.

I don't know how to start this review. I don't know if I can go through the points of acting, cinematography, directing all one by one. I just know that I need to convey the way I felt during and after I saw this movie and if I can get one person to go to see this movie and have the same experience that I had, then my life may be complete.
Because this movie is a magnificent experience. Demme told a story about shooting this where he gave his actors this direction "OK you've just come back from rehearsal dinner, do whatever you would do when returning home." During the next shot, he realised that Anisa George was missing. A moment later, she appeared, and Demme asked her where she had been. She said "Oh I just went to the bathroom"

It's this kind of spontaneity that is the pleasure of Rachel Getting Married. Demme bring you into this family with his handhold camera and you are riding on every choice each one of the family members are making. Demme's handheld camera and editing style bring to mind an elaborate home movie, made by someone who has the camera on all the time and with superior editing skills, but a home movie nonetheless.

It really brings to mind a movie that was released last year( no wait it's 2009, so that makes it two years ago. Dammit. I keep doing that.) is Once. Another movie that captures the beauty of relationships in a very home-movie style, I'm surprised I haven't heard this comparison made before (I may have just missed something). Because, truthfully, both of these movies have been labeled as the heart-warming movies for the years they were created in. and though Rachel getting Married doesn't have the musical power of Once (Then again, who does?) It creates compelling narrative, one that has so many fascinating characters that are worthy of their own movie, intricately weaving them together and yet still making the film feel spontaneous. One of the biggest draws, however, is the cast. While in a movie like Milk, the movie is a draw because of the big names(like Penn, Brolin, Franco) This cast is a much smaller but more tightly packed group of actors/actresses. You completely understand that these people would know each other and be part of a community like these people are. Each and every one of the actors are working in a whole, which is something not common in modern cinema. Of course the biggest buzz is going to Anne Hathaway(as the star Kym.) and Rosemarie Dewitt(as the titular Rachel) and they are amazing, but you can read just about any other review, so I wanted to talk about some of the people who I liked who aren't getting enough attention. first of all, Bill Irwin as the father. He plays the dad who is trying to keep everything in order by keeping an eye on Kym at all times. He plays him as well-meaning, but ultimately misguided, but the real scene to watch him in is the dishwasher scene. He is so ferocious in this need to outdo his son-in-law, we watch him nearly embarrass himself by trying to one-up Sydney in a match off, then see him react to what happens at the end(I'll let you discover what that is yourself) not only does he act in the way I would expect any person to act, but he does it with such conviction, that I defy you to not cry. This ties in nicely to the 2nd Grattan Aikins Rachel Getting Married memorial awards(patent pending) which is the son-in-law Sidney, Tunde Adebimpe. This really is a personal choice. I just love him. He's a lovable guy. And the last one is Anisa George as Rachel's best friend, Emma. She's the one who is the realistic version of Monica from friends, the one who needs to have everything to be perfect, and can't have fun in the process. Her speech is the 2nd most embarrassing thing in the movie(the first being Kym's speech) where she tries to tell this story(I can't remember what it was) and fails miserably. She just gets me so annoyed with the character and I just wanted her to stop talking, and that is testament to any good performance.

I want everyone to go see this. It is not groundbreaking in storytelling but i defy you to find a film that makes you feel better when you leave the cinema.

Verdict: A heart-warming, sweet little movie that will leave a smile on your face for days.



  1. Sorry dude, but I wasn't drawn into this supposed utopia. Things felt far too perfect, and I felt distanced by the long,elaborate wedding procedures. It was as if the characters were all smug and arrogant. Maybe it's this: if you don't have a huge, happy family like Sydney's, and if you don't have hundreds of friends, don't see this movie because it's going to depress you.

  2. I wouldn't say I found this to be a heartwarming film, I actually had the opposite reaction. I found it rather depressing. I think there is a bit of hope at the end and there is a certain fun throughout, but on the whole I found it a very dark and depressing tale. But, that doesn't change the fact that it was really a great movie, and outside of the end of that dishwasher scene I didn't find many flaws at all. Good work.