Ah, weddings. A happy, happy day that’s chock-full of romance and intimacy. It’s a day for all of those beautiful vows, moonlit dances and family laughs.
Just listen to JPY’s hit song “Love Is In The Air” if you don’t know what I mean.
Apparently, Jonathan Demme didn’t get the memo for his movie “Rachel Getting Married.”
He ends up crafting a gloom-filled, pre-wedding wreck by sprinkling a little dysfunction on top of the family wedding cake.
Kym (Anne Hathaway) is the source of most of the family’s misery.
The film opens with her furlough-rehab release so she can prepare for and attend the wedding of her sister Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt).
Through the family dialogue, the audience slowly discovers Kym’s drug-laden past along with the story of a tragic family accident.
This accident (I don’t want to spoil it) seems to be the root of the family’s problems.
Mainly, Rachel is upset that Kym receives much of the family’s attention, especially during her wedding.
But really, her complaints aren’t unwarranted. Kym, after learning that her sister is pregnant, tries to steer the conversation back to her rehab.
And Rachel’s father, instead of focusing on the wedding, worries incessantly about Kym’s safety.
He’s constantly offering her food, offering to drive her places, and asking if she’s all right.
Of course, this leads to more unrest in the family as Kym feels smothered by her father’s constant vigilance.
And, finally, blame for the “accident” lingers on many of the family members’ minds.
Basically, they have some issues.
What makes “Rachel Getting Married” different from other really sad movies (and movies in general) is its subtlety.
Demme shies away from flashbacks and other typical storytelling techniques. Instead, he leaves a breadcrumb trail of information.
We see the father insist that Kym bike to her support group instead of drive. And later, a teary-eyed family member gives a toast, mentioning a mysterious “Ethan.”
Eventually, it all becomes clear, but the audience has to wait for it as it comes together piece by piece.
It’s an effective tool. The audience wants to pay attention to the dialogue and the slight interactions between family members.
So, if you’re planning a wedding and it seems unbearable, take a look at “Rachel Getting Married.”
I promise that compared to Rachel, whatever you’re going through is a cakewalk.