Rachel Getting Married (15)
Friday 23 January 2009
I've been to a fair few weddings, and wedding movies, in my time, but I've never seen a movie that has felt so like a wedding as Jonathan Demme's Rachel Getting Married.
The way in which his camera noses through rooms, down corridors, round corners, all in wobbly wedding-video vérité, turns us, the audience, into a guest, one who doesn't quite know anyone's name but feels absolutely enthralled by the unfolding spectacle. The setting is a large family house in middle-class Connecticut, where Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) is about to be married. The pleasant flurry of nuptial preparations is then invaded by her sister Kym (Anne Hathaway), a recovering junkie out of rehab for the weekend and trailing a notoriety so consuming that she can't even deliver her maid-of-honour speech without turning the occasion into her own psychodrama: "the visiting sociopath", she calls herself.
Demme catches beautifully the tension of the wedding party but also its joy, its camaraderie and, significantly, its music. There's so much of the stuff – blues, samba, hip-hop, folk, jazz, and more – that the film could almost qualify as a musical, and at times its ubiquity gets a little out of hand. I loved the moment during one of the family's increasingly pained rows when Kym, unable to hear herself over the noodlings of the musicians from outside, begs her father to tell them: put a sock in it.
Anne Hathaway closes the Princess Diaries for good with her wired, voluble, vulnerable performance as Kim, so oppressed by her guilt over a long-ago fatal accident that she can't – won't – forgive herself. Her scenes with her mother, marvellously played by Debra Winger, are raw to the touch and deeply truthful in their unresolved anguish. I hope casting directors look at Winger in this movie and realise what they've been missing. Rachel Getting Married has a rollicking, unsteady feel that sometimes gets close to hysteria, a mood which that music tends to egg on. It's Altman-esque, in good and bad ways, though by the end I confess I felt like the traditional mother of the bride, my eyes filling up helplessly even as I begged, "no more".
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre