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With Jim Sabatini

Rachel Getting Married

Rachel Getting Married
Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Bill Irwin, Tunde Adebimpe, Debra Winger

Rated: R 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: October 3, 2008 Released by: Sony Pictures Classics

Moody and zestful, Jonathan Demme's Rachel Getting Married takes movies like 28 Days and Margot at the Wedding to a higher level.

Starring Anne Hathaway (Becoming Jane, The Devil Wears Prada) her brash, yet weak (just out of her latest rehab stint) Kym takes centerstage as her sister Rachel, a very good Rosemarie DeWitt, is in preparations for her biracial nuptials.

Kym brings her troubles to her white, upper-crust, liberal New England clan as she is coping with her sobriety (just watch her latest AA meeting) and feelings about her involvement in the death of younger brother Ethan.

The open-minded Demme has selectively crafted something here for the arthouse crowd who can appreciate generously intimate cinema which has an ingratiating unpredicatable fretfulness to it.

He works smartly with scribe Jenny Lumet (daughter of the great Sidney Lumet) not to be patronizing at all about his flawed characters. The plot really makes good on the emotional scars of a family. Rachel feels upstaged by what her tempestuous sister has done to the family and gets back at Kym during a funny, confrontational sequence.

Behind a surprisingly rich Hathaway and an apt DeWitt are Debra Winger as Rachel and Kym's divorced and remarried mom, Abby, and Bill Irwin as the embracing, anxious dad, Paul. Tunde Adebimpe has some delightful moments as Rachel's crooning groom, Sidney, whose side of the family hardly has much to offer besides the celebratory nature of the occasion.

A wide group of people are on view in a picture that has a bristling eclectic rhythm and a storyline that has something akin to Noah Baumbach's aforementioned Margot at the Wedding.

Rachel Getting Married, though, for all of its emotional lashing out, has a hopefulness at its core, a buoyant breadth that feels in tune with an honored moviemaker like Robert Altman, without the use of his trademark overlapping dialogue. And, the polished production features hand-held high-def camerawork by Declan Quinn and a nice musical kaleidoscope with flutes and electric guitars to attune the volatility of what is a superior soap opera.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Rachel Getting Married  C+      B+         C         C+ 

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