When watching movies I seek to escape from the real world. It could be plunging into new worlds, diving into the past, or flying to the future. As long as I can just forget about the world for a couple of hours, I’m usually happy. But every now and then it’s good to watch a movie so grounded in reality, that you forget your watching a movie. You escape to someone else’s life, and become more than an audience member, you become a voyeur.
Rachel Getting Married is like watching a lost home movie. The type of home movie made by accident. Anne Hathaway (Brokeback Mountain) plays Kym, a recovering drug addict who leaves rehab to attend her sister’s wedding. Kym’s relationship with her family is strained and dysfunctional beyond repair. Her drug abuse sent her into a downward spiral that tore her family apart, and after years of recovery, her problems followed her home. Her sister Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) resents her, and their father for always showing compassion for Kym in spite of her actions. As Rachel’s wedding draws closer, the further the family drifts apart. Kym tries to make amends with her family, and herself, but she just continues to drive the wedge deeper and deeper. The drama offers no definitive resolutions, just a glimpse into the lives of a flawed family trying to stay together.
Shot with a hand held camera the movie feels authentic in every way. Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs) has been making documentaries the last few years and brought that feel to this movie. The jarring camerawork is essential to telling this family’s story. Instead of watching a film, we’re watching a homemade video of a family in distress. Hathaway turns in the best performance of her career and is very deserving of her Oscar nod. Had it not been for Hathaway, or Demme’s camera technique, this could have easily been a made for Lifetime Television movie. Luckily though, it rises above as one of the best independent films of 2008.
While slow at times, Rachel Getting Married isn’t a perfect film, and not the most entertaining. What it lacks in entertainment value, it makes up for with intrigue and the exploring of a sensitive subject in today’s world. Drug use is rampant all across our world. Drugs can devastate an entire family by the abuse of one person, and this film shows just how destructive they can be. But if a family can stay together, they can overcome the power of the drug. I would definitely recommend Rachel Getting Married to anyone who has ever been affected by drug use. You won’t escape the world you live in, just get a view of others trying to escape as well.