This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Friday, October 10, 2008

No Gifts Necessary For This Wedding...

Yesterday, I went to a wedding. I didn't dress up nor did I bring a gift.

It wasn't a real wedding, but it sure felt like one. "Rachel Getting Married," written by Jenny Lumet and directed by Jonathan Demme is the story of a family in the midst of a weekend-long wedding celebration. Like many weddings, it's full of conflict, dysfunction, unresolved family issues as well as love, family, music, connectiveness, renewal, and private moments of letting go. Rachel may be getting married, but this story centers on Kym, Rachel's unconventional sister, back from rehab in order to participate in the festivities.

Kym (played with precision by a remarkable Anne Hathaway) comes off as a rebel with a seemingly indestructible exoskeleton. However, she is so much more complex and fragile than even her family gives her credit for. Their family, in all its glorious dysfunction, tries to hold together for the sake of Rachel's wedding, but they are not exactly a tight-knit group. They're seen more like a cobweb trying to hold together during a rainstorm. Old family issues, yet unresolved, rise up like ghosts with Kym's arrival. She is a reminder, a bookmark of sorts, to a chapter the family would soon like to forget, but can't.

The film's beginning is a shaky one-- literally. Shot documentary-style and mostly hand-held in its first moments, we are introduced to a world that seems confusing, uneasy and off-kilter. This may be off-putting to some filmgoers, yet it is purposeful, for we are most definitely seeing the world through Kym's eyes.

A wedding is a momentous occasion, full of love and joy yet also full of heartbreak and anxiety. Amid constant music and the hustle and bustle of wedding preparation and out-of-town guests, Kym joins the crowd, but doesn't really feel like she's a part of it. Everyone feels like they know her 'personal business' and for someone in recovery mode, that's not an easy thing.

Kym's presence forces her sister and her parents to confront things they'd rather keep buried. This is a difficult thing, but necessary for the family to move forward. Without giving much away, the film showcases the conflict between honoring the past and letting it go, and most importantly for Kym, learning to forgive oneself.

"Rachel Getting Married" feels real because it it's loosely constructed and free-flowing. It feels like we're watching it in real time-- full of family drama, unspoken moments, and joy. It's also, by far, the coolest wedding I've ever seen on a movie screen-- apart from perhaps "Monsoon Wedding."
"Rachel Getting Married"
Starring: Anne Hathaway (Kym); Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel); Bill Irwin (Paul); Debra Winger (Abby); Tunde Adebimpe (Sidney); Mather Zickel (Kieran); Anna Deavere Smith (Carol); Anisa George (Emma)

Directed by: Jonathan Demme; written by Jenny Lumet. A Sony Pictures Classics release.

Copyright © 2008 KLiedle

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