Rachel Getting Married reviews

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Postby Sabin » Sat Sep 06, 2008 1:34 pm

Mike D'Angelo hasn't posted a specific number yet but 'Rachel Getting Married' is between 84 and 81. So is 'Burn After Reading'.
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Postby MovieWes » Thu Sep 04, 2008 5:55 pm

Hathaway's dark role sparks early awards buzz

Thursday September 4 1:17 PM ET

Anne Hathaway's dark role in "Rachel Getting Married," which premiered this week in Venice, is generating early Oscar buzz, with several critics hailing her departure from fairytale and comic characters.

In the family drama directed by Jonathan Demme, Hathaway plays Kym, a recovering drug addict who checks out of a rehabilitation center to attend her sister's wedding.

Her acerbic one-liners and need for attention serve as the catalysts for long-simmering family tensions to come to the boil, forcing her to confront her sense of guilt over the death of her little brother.

"An award-worthy Anne Hathaway gives the story a clear central focus," wrote the Hollywood Reporter, while rival trade publication Variety called her "fragile, angry, superb."

Hathaway, best known for her girl-next-door performances in "The Princess Diaries" and "The Devil Wears Prada," told Reuters on Thursday it was too early to think about awards.

"It's the beginning of September and if I started being concerned about buzz now I would never make it through Christmas," Hathaway said in an interview.

"I could not be happier with this film, whatever happens to it. If it sinks at the box office, if it doesn't ever win an award, it's so successful in my mind," the 25-year-old added.

Hathaway has said Kym was the most complex role she had taken on so far.

Critics also praised Debra Winger's brief but intense performance in the film as the dysfunctional family's aloof mother. Screen Daily said three-time Oscar nominee Winger had made the small supporting role memorable.

"'Rachel Getting Married' will undoubtedly be up for awards consideration in the major categories," it wrote.

Most critics said the movie helped lift a weaker-than-usual lineup at the Venice film festival this year, and Hathaway's appearance on the red carpet gave the festival a welcome touch of Hollywood glamour.

Demme's previous films include 1991 thriller "The Silence of the Lambs," which won five Oscars, and 1993 AIDS drama "Philadelphia."

"Young men make wars and the virtues of war are the virtues of young men: courage and hope for the future. Then old men make the peace, and the vices of peace are the vices of old men: mistrust and caution." -- Alec Guinness (Lawrence of Arabia)

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Postby Mister Tee » Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:22 am

And Hollywood Reporter makes three.

Between this, the Danny Boyle and Kristin Scott Thomas movies, it appears an Oscar race that needed sleepers to fill out an uninspiring studio schedule is getting them.

Film Review: Rachel Getting Married
Bottom Line: Tears, smiles and lightness in Demme's great piece of americana.

By Deborah Young
Sep 3, 2008

Venice Film Festival, In Competition

VENICE -- Jonathan Demme, last in Venice with "The Manchurian Candidate," breathes a breath of honest cinema into a lackluster competition with "Rachel Getting Married," a film whose lightness of touch rides a wave of family conflict to perfectly balance smiles and tears. Playing the spitfire sister of the bride, an award-worthy Anne Hathaway gives the story a clear central focus and offers Jenny Lumet's subtle script some wiggle room to set aside a lot of the usual genre conventions without losing the audience's attention. Though hardly a blockbuster comedy, the Sony Pictures Classics release should gather steam as the awards roll in and word-of-mouth spreads.

Like Robert Altman's 1978 "A Wedding," by which it is clearly inspired, this is a terrific piece of Americana, shot with great spontaneity by cinematographer Declan Quinn. Demme's parallel career as a documentarist spills over into the onscreen music making, improv-style acting and fluid hand-held camera work. They plunge viewers into the thick of Connecticut WASP Rachel Buchman's (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding to black musician Sydney Williams (Tunde Adebimpe.)

Rachel's wayward sis Kym Buchman (Hathaway), who is fighting drug addiction, has been let out of rehab to attend the wedding. As she arrives, preparations are hot underway in the Buchmans' big family house in the country. Kym's overprotective father (Bill Irwin) treats her gingerly, but Rachel and her best friend Emma (Anisa George) concentrate on damage control as the tough, scarred, self-centered Kym bursts like a uncaged tiger upon their plans for the perfect wedding.

Largely offscreen, but very central to the drama, is Kym and Rachel's remarried mother, Abby (Debra Winger), whose aloofness has its roots in the painful past. As every guest at the wedding knows, and the audience comes to find out, the 16-year-old Kym was high on drugs and driving the car when a family tragedy occurred that no one has been able to forgive. Backed up by a top cast of actors, Hathaway masterfully navigates this complex role with verve, sarcastic one-liners and a controlled mix of toughness and fragility.
Shot through with smart humor, "Rachel" outlaws cliche. Sydney's good-looking best man, Kieran (Mather Zickel), whom Kym has previously spotted at a 12-step meeting for struggling addicts, materializes at the wedding like her perfect romantic partner. In a humorously unexpected twist, Kym immediately beds him in the attic and ignores him for the rest of the film. A whole romantic subplot is nipped in the bud, leaving the screenplay room to open family wounds and explore less predictable territory.

There are moments of heavy-hearted sadness and pain, set off by Zafar Tawil's violin theme, that strike an emotional chord; with great control, Demme balances the bits of melancholia against the loving encirclement of the wedding couple by their guests. Coming from modernly mixed ethnic backgrounds, they warmly represent funny, talented, articulate, liberal America (surely the fact that Sydney and Kieran live in Hawaii is no coincidence?) Raising the spirits is a lot of music-making and joyful song, including a just-right a cappella number by the groom as he and Rachel are about to be pronounced man and wife.

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Postby Mister Tee » Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:19 am

ScreenDaily agrees.

Rachel Getting Married
Fionnuala Halligan in Venice
03 Sep 2008 13:01

Dir: Jonathan Demme. US. 2008. 116mins.

Hand-held, free-wheeling and at times joyously spontaneous, the dogme-like Rachel Getting Married sees Jonathan Demme paying tribute to Robert Altman (in particular A Wedding) but there's such a large dose of music in here it almost forms a genre of its own. Not quite, though. In its treatment of a Connecticut family with the dark hole of family loss and dysfunction at its centre, Rachel Getting Married travels familiar thematic ground from Ordinary People on up.

Packed with superb performances, in particular from Anne Hathaway in the lead role and Debra Winger in a small supporting turn she makes memorable, Rachel Getting Married will undoubtedly be up for awards consideration in the major categories. While its two-hour running time and lengthy musical interludes may strain its commercial potential, this is a strong ticket for upscale audiences, both domestic and international, and ancillary should be decent for the same demographic.

Scripted, apparently loosely, by Sydney Lumet's daughter Jenny, with a wedding party cast shot live and comprising professionals and friends of the director (Roger Corman shot footage as a "guest"), Rachel could have stood a trimming of either its lengthy speeches or musical elements. While both provide a necessary respite from the intense family drama element of the film, combined they could deter less staunch viewers. But with Demme devoting much of his time recently to documentary projects, this influence is strongly reflected in his first feature since 2004's The Manchurian Candidate, and the result overall feels quick-footed, assured and fresh with some bravura work from cinematographer Declan Quinn.

Hathaway vaults several stages along in her career with an intense yet sympathetic turn as the deeply-troubled, acid-tongued Kym, an actress on weekend release from her latest stint in rehab to attend her sister Rachel's (DeWitt, also strong) wedding. Kym has a fondness for drama and a need to be the centre of events. To illustrate the point, she has sex with the best man, also a recovering addict, before she even unpacks her bags, and then realises she's not the maid of honour and throws a glorious scene about it.

Sweet sister Rachel, meanwhile, resents this attention-seeking behaviour and would like her day in the sun. At the outset, there's mention of a fatal car crash and it's clear that Rachel's wedding is going to prompt an airing of the trauma that has so obviously ripped the family in shreds. Mother Abby (Winger), when she does show up, is glacially distant; she and her former husband Paul (Irwin, again strong) barely speak.

The wedding itself is a peculiar affair. Musicians throng the halls of the family's roomy Connecticut home (Rachel's groom is a black musician from Hawaii which explains their presence) and there's a hippy feel to the proceedings with the wedding party clad in Indian garb. Demme is at pains to present the multi-racial nature of the gathering without comment but perhaps goes overboard, achieving the reverse effect – by the time the samba musicians arrive, one wonders whether this family is in the diplomatic service.

Technically, Rachel Getting Married is always alluring. The fact there's too much soundtrack is a problem but the musical element is very strong. Quinn's impressive camerawork manages to service the film rather than hog centre-stage. Given the range of techniques and media involved, editing must have been a challenge, and Tim Squyres has assembled a fluid, spontaneous-feeling end result. This seems to mark a change of direction for Demme, even though he has arrived at it gradually, and a landmark point in his feature career.

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Postby Mister Tee » Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:15 am

Aside from the fact it's by a critic of whom I've never heard, this review would seem to be a good sign.

Rachel Getting Married

A Sony Pictures Classics release of a Clinica Estetico production, in association with Marc Platt Prods. Produced by Jonathan Demme, Neda Armian, Marc Platt. Executive producers, Ilona Herzberg. Carol Cuddy. Co-producer, H.H. Cooper. Directed by Jonathan Demme. Screenplay, Jenny Lumet.

Kym - Anne Hathaway
Rachel - Rosemarie DeWitt
Paul - Bill Irwin
Abby - Debra Winger
Sidney - Tunde Adebimpe
Kiernan - Mather Zickel
Emma - Anisa George

Brimming with energy, elan and the unpredictability of his "Something Wild," Jonathan Demme's triumphant "Rachel Getting Married" may just lay the wedding film to rest, being such a hard act to follow. Amid preparations for a biracial wedding, in comes the bride's time-bomb of a sister (Anne Hathaway), fresh from a nine-month stay at her umpteenth rehab, ready to open every can of worms in the cupboard. Riding emotional rollercoasters to the ever-changing rhythms of the wonderfully eclectic in-house bands whose music never ceases, Demme's self-styled stunner should appeal to arthouse auds upon its Oct. 3 release by Sony Classics.

Kym (Hathaway, fragile, angry and superb) does not qualify as a likely candidate for Miss Congeniality. Commanding centerstage, she's not about to let a little thing like her sister's wedding take away from the spectacle of her suffering. A succinct, wryly perfect AA meeting makes clear that Kym's guilt over the death of her little brother, Ethan, has left her incapable of coping with herself, just as others have difficulty coping with her. The entire family carries the scars of Ethan's death, along with all manner of festering hurts and enduring longings.

Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) resents her sister's constant emotional drain on their rich, white, liberal New England family, leaving precious few resources for her own needs. In a marvelously funny scene, when Rachel suddenly announces she is pregnant during a bout of mutual sisterly recriminations, Kym inanely cries foul, unable to overcome her anger at being upstaged.

A whole sea of troubles roils beneath the siblings' superficially polite relationship with their divorced and remarried mother (an incomparable Debra Winger), the tensions more inchoately acted out than specifically spelled out. Meanwhile, their dad (Demme regular Bill Irwin), expansive and all-embracing, cannot leave anything alone, anxiously pushing food and solicitude upon his welcoming guests and his far less receptive daughters.

Doubtless, the black groom and his family could yield similar soap operatics, but the film never ventures far into the other side of the aisle, except for innumerable toasts, hugs and songs as musician/groom Sidney (Tunde Adebimpe) launches into a cappella Neil Young after the vows.

The characters' volatile moodswings are matched by the restlessness of the HD camerawork commandeered by Declan Quinn ("Monsoon Wedding"). Quinn's camera, few of whose moves were blocked out beforehand, proves ever ready to take off in unexpected directions.

With the passing of Robert Altman, Demme remains the only one of his groundbreaking generation of '60s/'70s-spawned, open-ended moviemakers consistently making films. Though written by Jenny Lumet (Sidney's daughter) and owing more, plot-wise, to Noah Baumbach's "Margot at the Wedding" than to Altman's "A Wedding," "Rachel Getting Married" quite consciously inscribes itself with that Altmanesque tradition of go-with-the-flow, quasi-ethnographic American walkabouts.

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