Monday, September 22, 2008

Rachel Getting Married: Welcome to the Family

I saw Rachel Getting Married this weekend at Talk Cinema, written by Jenny Lumet, granddaughter of Lena Horne, and directed by Jonathan Demme and starring most notably Anne Hathaway, though her sister in the movie, Rosemarie DeWitt as Rachel, was excellent (here's a good interview with her about it) as was Bill Irwin, who played the goofy, nurturing father in the movie. Sidney, Rachel's fiance, is sweet caring and supportive of Rachel and Tunde Adebimpe plays him marvelously. I cried unabashedly when he sang her some Bob Dylan during the wedding vows. Sidney's best man, Kieran is great, as played by Mather Zickel . Debra Winger makes a great supporting actress. I loved this movie. It has stayed with me, which for me is a good sign for a movie.

The homevideo quality of the filming really brings you into the family's lives and you get in the beginning that there is a tragedy, which is uncovered as you go. I read a review on IMDB that talked about how they ended up clapping during the Wedding Rehearsal dinner scene, and I confess that I did the same thing. It felt like I was there, like the minute that Kym is released from rehab, throughout the myriad of people that surround the house, and to the end, that we are witnessing it first hand. That home video quality was mirrored by a cousin home from Iraq who carries the video camera around as a shield. They tell him to put his down, but somehow you still are carrying your camera with you as you peek into this family's world well after he puts his down.

Because it has that quality of letting you into their lives, you alternately love and despise the characters as they love and despise themselves. The beautiful tug and pull of being with family meaning you are the most happy and most vulnerable and sad when you are with them (what is it? you take it out on those you love most?) really struck a chord with me. I happen to be one of those people who is at their best and worst in front of their family and I happen to be fortunate enough to be in a family that loves me in spite of myself.

As an ending comment, just as you might find in visiting a real family, this story left a lot of unravelled stories left to be uncovered. And, even though you're curious, you understand that you aren't going to know. Really intense, but really really good. The only thing I sort of questioned was the diversity of a small Connecticut town, because I got the feeling that all the people from the wedding (which was a diverse crowd) hung around the house a lot. IMDB says that Demme tends to use non-actor friends or musicians he likes, as long as they are "interesting". Well, using everyone from Fab Five Freddy playing himself to Brazilian dancers might be interesting, but that is really the only place the movie lost me. They seemed out of place there without further explanation.

Don't see it if you don't like Indies but I can't recommend it enough.


Anonymous said...

My friend Dana says:

I agree with that the performances were good and the Rachel character was believable. But I got sick pretty quickly of how precious and multi-cultural they were (ooh, let's have an Indian wedding and Brazilian dancers!). Perhaps the East Coast wealth thing distanced me, as well. That said, it did a very good job with the photography and slice-of-lifeness.

Anonymous said...

I think:

Yeah, I know they intimated that the Father was some sort of musician or something, but I don’t think that they could get away with all that diversity without clarifying where it comes from… especially when it is set in Connecticut which is typically more White Bred. I did see on the site that the musicians were taken from New Orleans, which is pretty cool… but still didn’t really fit in.

You know they did that blame the mother thing, and she was clearly an “absent” sort of parent… but what role did the dad play. It would have made a lot more sense if there had been a scene where they talk about how the dad didn’t really notice because he was always helping the musicians that were hanging around or that she had been getting drugs from the musicians or something… something to spread the blame that way.

Anonymous said...

Dana Replied:

Interesting point about the dad and mom. Didn't they say at one point kym had been a model?

Anonymous said...

I replied:

Yeah, they did… but still… she was home enough to be around to babysit

PretaMulatta said...

A multicultural family calls for multicultural entertainment at a wedding reception... reggae singer, indian saris & a chant caller, brasilian band and lovely dancers only make it better.

also the script was written by jenny lumet. multicultural daughter of sidney lumet, granddaugher of lena horne... it sort of lends itself to a multicultural theme. this IS america, after all ;o)