Friday, February 20, 2009

A dysfunctional family, and a wedding

"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 reemergence throws a wrench into the family dynamics, forcing long-simmering tensions to surface in ways both hilarious and heartbreaking. It paints a colorful, nuanced family portrait and is filled with the rich characters.

Net net, the movie is a cacophony.

It could be cheaply disparaged as a film about rich people's annoying problems, but the acting has a weight and complexity that drags you in, even against your will.

A genuine revelation, Kym's pained wastrel is cutting and articulate – I loved Kym going off to "register as a general biohazard" – but also needy, damaged and more vulnerable than she likes to show.

Rachel matches her with a combination of gracefulness and snippy backbiting. Playing their parents, we get brilliant sketches from the great Bill Irwin, as their floundering peacekeeper dad, and their mother who has divorced herself from intimacy with her own girls.

It is dysfunctional family drama on a combination of grainy, handheld 35mm and consumer video – without rehearsal, with a huge ensemble cast made up of actors and musicians

The script is, perhaps, the best thing about Rachel Getting Married; many things are left unsaid, many things are unexplained, and many things are said and explained through the natural ebb and flow of the conversation. When Kym steps into "her" room at the family's house; it's preserved as if in amber, still and airless and perfect and dead. It also captures the jumbled, joyous chaos of a mixed-race wedding - the weird mix of territorial squabbles over everything from seating charts to roles in the bridal party and warm, loving, celebration. And as we go from rehearsal to reception, difficulty to disaster, we learn how much Kym truly has to atone for. The characters bring to life someone who has, through her own fault, earned a crushing sorrow that she will feel every day of her life: Kym notes, of her gravest error, how "I can live with it, but I can't forgive myself ..."; Hathaway makes us believe it. At the same time, Rachel Getting Married is very funny - from quick-cut gags to smart character-driven asides to a character's explosion of annoyance late in the film that may echo the audience's feelings about one of the film's devices.

Movie is meant for those who're not afraid to open themselves up to it.

No comments:

Post a Comment