One good thing about the meme is how cathartic it is. I’ve been wanting to write about some films for some time, but I’m not sure how to get the ball rolling. Biting the bullet; for today: Rachel Getting Married. I never reviewed Rachel Getting Married, since I wasn’t blogging around the time of its release. It’s often touted as one of the strongest independent flicks of 2008 and Anne Hathaway’s performance continues to be hailed as a tour-de-force. I saw it in the wake of the buzz it was getting. While recapping 2008 I mentioned that I was no fan of the film (my initial grade was a C+) and last week when I caught it on I decided to watch (E/N: this post was written weeks ago). I hadn’t seen it since 2008 and I wanted to see how it aged.
I know I praised Rosemarie DeWitt in my Encore Awards, but I was unprepared for how excellent she was here. I know that lovers of the film applaud her performance but there’s a reason that the film is called Rachel Getting Married and it’s just not because of her wedding. I’ve never liked Anne Hathaway, from her days of being a Disney princess to her newfound status as a rising star I still don’t like her. If pushed I’d identify her performance in The Devil Wears Prada as my favourite, and that doesn’t say much when I think she’s the weakest of the film’s four stars (Blunt, Streep, Tucci in that order). Hathaway grates on me so much I’m unsure if her acting is the issue or her natural personality and my unprofessionalism. Kym, the recovering addict, is the perfect type of role for an actress trying to break out of a rut but Demme’s Rachel Getting Married biggest problem is that it already thinks it doing something seismic. I recall someone saying that if some new director had helmed this, whose name was not Demme, the response would have been muted. I believe that. The film is not a bad one by any stretch of the imagination, but despite all the rote examples of honesty it’s not as sincere as it’s pretending which is the feeling I get from Hathaway. Yes, Kym is just a large mix of neuroses and Hathaway is obviously trying hard, but she strikes me as a young actress trying to act than a real character which is the opposite feeling I get from DeWitt. It’s no surprise, then, that Hathaway does best when paired with DeWitt. It’s almost as if the older sister is willing the younger one to step up to the plate, and it’s the dynamic of the film that rings out as most sincere.
Bill Irwin, I admit, puts up a valiant effort and his response to a certain dishwasher scene is well played. But I can’t take it at face value because it seems oddly truncated, not as truncated as Debra Winger who does well with a nothing role, but truncated nonetheless. I can’t be expected to value these characters because there’s little there that urges me to get invested in them. Yet, I admire Rachel Getting Married for its good intentions. Demme falters, oh yes I believe he does, but his attempt to craft an adult drama that’s not overly adult or that has too much “drama” is impressive. I laud its ability to have an interracial marriage without turning it into something of huge proportions. I laud the fact that it doesn’t try to play for sympathy too much, though it does aim for empathy that I can’t always give. Despite its best intentions Rachel Getting Married does little to move. I’ll show up for the bride, but I’m neither here nor there on the rest of the bridal party. (Upgraded to a B-).
What do you think of Rachel Getting Married?
All for the MEME.