A review by rocksgowhoosh, aka astrobabe or astro_babe
This is a movie with only one nomination, Best Actress. After having seen this movie one would understand why it only has one. This is not a nice happy movie about Anne Hathaway being the Princess of Genovia (shut up!) nor is it the movie I saw the trailer for prior to this one about Anne Hathaway and Goldie Hawn’s sprog getting their b*tch on over their respective weddings.
Instead this is a movie where the description on moviefone is:
‘Rachel Getting Married’ is a contemporary drama with an aggressive sense of humor about the return of an estranged daughter to the family home for her sister’s wedding. Kym’s (Hathaway) reemergence throws a wrench into the family dynamics, forcing long-simmering tensions to surface in ways both hilarious and heartbreaking. ‘Rachel Getting Married’ paints a colorful, nuanced family portrait and is filled with the rich characters that have always been a hallmark of Jonathan Demme’s films.
Somewhere in the interactions of Kym and her whole family I missed the hilarity. Heartbreak I saw in scores however amidst the shaky camera work and yellow lighting like someone had employed one of the cheapest handycams on the market to shoot this film. I’ll admit, I’m a bad little student writing her dissertation and there are days I find myself watching shows like Celebrity Rehab saying “oh thank jebus there are people with less coping skills than me”. So after having read a quick blurb saying Kym returns from rehab, I somewhat expected her to be like one of Dr Drew’s patients; loud, obnoxious and “high on life”. Instead we’re introduced to a chain smoking introvert with a sharp wit when she gets to use it. She’s being summoned from rehab (permanently or not, is questionable) for her sister’s wedding and is the one that her sister seems to dread for the sake of making an obnoxious scene.
In some small family interaction she does show her ascerbic wit, namely when talking about her sister and sister’s friend organizing the wedding (“Rachael and Emma? Those two have the delegation skills of Hannibal”) or when ribbing her sister about her anorexia when younger. These moments happen early in the movie and don’t really appear again which is too sad.
Through this movie we see the way the family copes with Anne Hathaway’s characters return from rehab. There is a lack of trust from her dad who hovers and rushes out to greet her often when she comes home just to know where she is, her sister Rachel and Emma who often act like harpies that are morally superior, and her mother (divorced from her father) who just practices avoidance. One is left with the question: why are all these people so weird?
After a painful rehearsal speech in which Kym makes a fumbling attempt at step 9 (making amends with those she has hurt, namely her sister) and a painful 12 step meeting we find why her family acts so strange- because when she was 16, she was high and was driving a car that went off a bridge with her little brother in it. She was never able to get him out of the car seat and so he drowned and she beats herself up about it. At this point, I understood her family and understood why the rehab. But then I realized- she was high when she went off that bridge so the rehab wasn’t about not being able to deal specifically. In the end, the night before the wedding we find out that mommy dearest and everyone else in the family knew she was a druggie at 16 yet left her around her little brother because she was “better” around him. Seeing the argument between Anne Hathaway’s character and the character of her mother played by Debra Winger, your heart starts to break for Kym as you see how her family put her in a situation that they then blame her for.
Is the performance good enough for an Oscar for Hathaway? It’s not really clear to me. The format of the movie may be a major obstacle- this movie seems to have a beginning and then a middle where the family issues are all fleshed out, but not an end. Did I believe her as a past junkie? Yes. But I say that because I could see how uninvolved her parents were as she was growing up and her crappy morally superior sister and could understand how she turned to drugs in the first place. But I see her as one of those who can never go back because the people she knew were dead- her dad is off in a land where his big achievement is winning the dishwasher loading speed record and her mom is running off anywhere and everywhere with her latest man toy. I found Kym subtle and understated even though she’s clearly suffering from her family’s lack forgiveness perhaps because they cannot forgive themselves. Against the field, there are larger names, but perhaps Anne Hathaway could pull off a coup a la Charlize and Monster.