Title: Rachel Getting Married
Time/Place: 12:20 showing at Westpark 8
It’s very rare that I get to see a movie that I know so little about. I relish these opportunities because it’s so much nicer going into a movie with as few preconceived ideas as possible. Rachel Getting Married was a movie that had sparked my interest some time ago, before it was even released, and yet I don’t even remember why. It may have been a trailer, but I think it was even less than that – it was simply the idea. A recovering addict returning home for her sister’s wedding? Sounds like a blast! All kidding aside, I was really interested to see it, and I wasn’t disappointed.
I’ll get this first part over with quickly: DOLLY. STEADICAM. TRIPOD. SOMETHING! The entire movie is seemingly shot by hand, which for someone like me, can be very hard to watch. Trust me… artistically I understand the purpose of it in this move, I really, really do. The artistic expression means nothing if I can’t watch the screen, though. It was almost like Cloverfield – if that had been a good movie ;-). I’m especially sensitive to movement, more than most, so I won’t dwell on this and let it affect the review. After the first 15 minutes, I had pretty much adjusted, and only had to avert my eyes a couple of more times, so in the long run it wasn’t that bad. Technically, everything else was spot on, and even the camerawork was well done for what it was.
The important part, though, is the story – and I loved it. We begin with Anne Hathaway’s character Kym, though I would be hard pressed to label her the main character. This truly an ensemble piece, though the ensemble is fairly small. Every character is well-developed, and if you come from an imperfect family, you’ll recognize SOMEONE in this cast as a relative of your own. Near the middle of the picture I was slightly concerned that the movie was going to fall into a back and forth melodrama… where everyone is crying and the air is too thick to breathe – or believe. It snapped itself right out of that lull, though, and on a whole I really loved this movie. It is a movie about so much that I couldn’t list it all. I can sum it all up, however, with the concept that this movie is a wonderful portrayal of dysfunction in people’s lives – as contradictory as that may sound.
Maybe your family isn’t exactly as the one portrayed here, but I know myself I can certainly find the similarities: the self-destructive addict, the appeaser, the absentee, the one lost in the shuffle… people are universal, and the portrayal of these characters was universally interesting. The movie doesn’t necessarily play out as a normal movie might, either. We spend long chunks of time with them absorbing the atmosphere, and other, more dramatic, moments are over in a matter of minutes. This is how life goes. Nobody is the villain, and nobody is so easily placed into a simple category of who they are. Each of these characters are conflicted by their choices, and these conflicts clash with one other – as they will in a close family. Throughout the entire movie, these are people you want to just reach out and hug… until they make you want to slap them a minute later. That’s a compliment, though, because that’s how people are.
Rachel Getting Married is not a fairy tale. It is a very realistic (and at times very painful) look at a family struggling to cope with each other. The movie could have ended on a variety of bad notes, but its ultimate message is one that carries us through until the very last scene and into the credits: Love is what matters the most. Without it we cannot forgive, recover, laugh, celebrate, or survive.