STUDIO: Sony Pictures Classics
MSRP: $19.99
RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes
• Deleted Scenes
• 2 Audio Commentary Tracks
• Featurettes


The Pitch

Jonathan Demme makes the problems of rich people seem interesting.

This love scene outtake made the gag reel.

The Humans

Cast: Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Tunde Adebimpe, Mather Zickel

Director/Writer: Jonathan Demme

The Nutshell

Recovering addict Kym (Hathaway) dreads leaving rehab for her sister Rachel’s (DeWitt) wedding. In addition to the drugs and failure, Kym’s a festering cozy of secrets, lies, and tragedies. As the blackest sheep in the family, she steels herself for the event by cranking her sarcasm meter to 20 billion and treating both guests and family with contempt. Unsurprisingly, this strategy opens old wounds, leading Kym, Rachel, and the rest of her family through an emotional gauntlet.

Originally titled Dancing with Shiva, the name was changed to Rachel Getting Married to avoid offending rabid Bahamut fans.

Rachel lets her younger brother’s band play at the wedding, but only on
the conditions that he perform at 6AM and the amplifier is turned off and the
drummer isn’t allowed to use any drumsticks and they play in a different city.

The Lowdown

Look, it’s some rich white folks! Why is everybody crying?

Yes, Rachel Getting Married is a Problems Of the White And Rich (POWAR) movie. And maybe there’s nothing wrong with that. Not every film needs to focus on the problems of the impoverished, and since writers are best at writing what they know, it’s no shock that for every City of God, there are a dozen Margots at the Weddings. Still, fawning over the problems of the well-off in our country’s current virus ridden, unemployment racked state seems a little perverse, but hey, Noah Baumbach gotta eat! Haute cuisine, probably.

Married is notable for its loose, naturalistic style, which is partly a result of relying on handheld cameras, and partly because Demme lets these cameras lazily ferret out both the heavy drama and the sometimes weightless family business of hosting a wedding. During the same sequence, the camera might watch Kym making a backhanded, self obsessed toast to her sister at the reception, and then switch to a quiet moment between the groom’s family. The party itself is almost completely devoid of narrative, turning that whole part of the movie into a virtual wedding video. This tactic makes Married feel very real, and also turns the audience into a flock of voyeurs, making the film’s many tense family arguments seem all that more awkward. Family reunion throwdowns are unpleasant, but being in the room for someone else’s heated family argument can be even worse.

Another attempt by the Lost writers to shoehorn a dumb Ethan reference into everything

Because they feel so genuine, Married‘s many arguments can get exhausting, but that’s not to say the film is any kind of arduous ordeal. There are funny moments, and unlike other POWAR films, there’s something very warm coursing beneath the surface. To its credit, the film wrings optimism from a realistic series of tragedies without getting saccharine or feeling phony.

Anne Hathaway’s performance as the broken, quippy Kym is wonderful, but it’s her pairing with Rosemarie DeWitt’s Rachel that outshines everything else. It’s easy to empathize with both of these characters, which is remarkable given how different they are; although Rachel sees Kym as an attention starved self-handicapper and Kym sees Rachel as the lucky, overachieving daddy’s girl, it’s easy to see how much they still care about each other. TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe plays the groom, and is a calming contrast to the bride’s family. Bill Irwin is both funny and depressing as the desperate father of the bride.

GUY IN THE MIDDLE, STOP BEING SO WISTFUL. He’s probably daydreaming about “Halcyon Days” or some shit.

There are a few flaws. The second act ends with an accident that feels manufactured and out of step with the rest of the film. Spoiler: After an argument with her Mother, Kym drives her dad’s car into a tree. As an inciting incident for Kym’s third act transformation, it’s a little cliche, and doesn’t line up with the film’s fly-on-the-wall tone. Also, I love TV On the Radio, but the wedding ceremony features a five minute Tunde Adebimpe solo performance that had me squirming in my seat and reaching for the remote. Minor complaints, all.

Funny, sad, and very engaging, Rachel Getting Married is worth checking out, so long as you’re not opposed to drenching yourself in the messy problems of someone else’s family. Noah Baumbach may hold the crown to the POWAR empire, but Demme proves he’s got the tools to stage a coup.

The Package

Bonus Features include a slew of deleted scenes, two audio commentary tracks, and a trio of featurettes.  Married‘s washed out look won’t push your HDTV to the limit, but there’s nothing wrong with it, and the audio is a stalwart Dolby 3/2.1.

Cossacks and Carnaval dancers are natural enemies.

8.5 out of 10

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