Film Review - Rachel Getting Married

Screening between Friday 23rd January and Thursday 5th February 2009 @ Watershed

Home movies are always very personal pieces of footage, imposing and low-tech; it was an interesting style choice for this film. We were thrust into the lives of the Bushman family with sympathy and laughter, and director Jonathan Demme made our eyes part of the furniture.

The film begins with Kym’s arrival home from rehab; she is so self-absorbed that it is hard to find her character likeable. Kym is played by Anne Hathaway, Hollywood’s darling daughter, but unlike her other films, Rachel Getting Married is saturated in unpredictability. It doesn’t feel the need to explain everything it does like Daddy Hollywood, and it tackles family conflicts in a genuine, honest way.

It seems that Daddy Hollywood was harnessing quite a few of Miss Hathaway’s acting muscles, whether she is puffing on a cigarette, smacking her mother, smiling at her sister or crying for her brother, her performance is believable. Believable because nothing is exaggerated for pure indulgence and reconcilements happen inwardly. As an audience we understand these subtle moments because the camera shots are so personal. We feel like a character within the film, one of those crazy friends who carry a camcorder and filming everything.

Kym’s relationship with her sister, Rachel (Rosemarie Dewitt) runs alongside the wedding preparations. Both sisters are phenomenal which leaves the audience wondering to whom they should side with - The rebellious younger sister or the life driven older sister? Either way we see the underbelly of both their stories and like the film we might decide to side with none. While at times Rachel’s new life threatens Kym with green eyes, at the end we leave the Bushman home with a sense that Kym has been secretly inspired by her sister; however, the ambiguity of this stubs out any fairytale ending like a cigarette.

Kayleigh Cassidy

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