Rachel Getting Married (Demme, 2008)

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Rachel Getting Married, an “indie” glance at family dysfunction and past trauma, is certainly the most overvalued movie in years. I don’t get why critics like David Edelstein hailed the film as the best of the year, since it’s ultimately a frustrating and dramatically inept experience. The performances are all all worthy, especially Anne Hathaway and Rosemarie Dewitt playing sisters Kim and Rachel constantly in emotional flux due to Kim’s post-rehab angst and sketchy past. But director Jonathan Demme’s handling of the upper middle class family and Rachel’s wedding weekend feels like a series of theatrical skits between characters practicing for a different film, an emotional purge session plagued by melodramatic hogwash and obvious performance crescendos. A few scenes work beautifully, like the actual wedding ceremony, which offers a glimpse at the potential greatness the film could have achieved. As Rachel and her charming groom Sidney (Tunde Adebimpe) exchange nuptials, Demme allows the couple’s words to sink in for the first time, the silence of the crowd coming as a relief after an eternity of bickering. In the end, Rachel Getting Married shows how good intentions washed in apathy build up over time, creating more problems than it solves within a family dynamic leaning over the edge. While interesting at times, the film is nowhere near as engaging as it’s filmmakers and critical choir make it out to be.

2 thoughts on “Rachel Getting Married (Demme, 2008)

  1. I agree. Just saw it last night. Too much at times (My wedding days about me Dad, Me…bo hooh hooh) but a few really nice moments; when the grooms sings to his new bride); Anne Hathaway’s nicely delivered awkward toast in particular, the father’s outburst upon learning his daughter is with child, to name a few. Probably not a film I would ever watch again and expect to get more from a second viewing. Not that it is a bad film, but there are just too many other more valuable unseen gems left to be discovered.

  2. At times, Demme is just plain lazy with his direction, but at others it’s as crisp and engaging as ever. Just overvalued in my opinion.

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