Rachel Getting Married Review

Another Anne Hathaway wedding film gets a Blu-ray review this month, but this one isn’t all fun and games.

Kym (Anne Hathaway) is life-long drug addict who is released from rehab for her sister, Rachel’s (Rosemarie DeWitt), wedding. As she attempts to reintegrate with her family, the stress of the wedding and the divides in the family threaten to upset Rachel’s big day. Kym is forced to face her past and make amends for her actions, a need that begins to eclipse the wedding.

Jenny Lumet provides a sharp and acerbic script that enables Hathaway to play against type as Kym. Her dry, sharp wit is cut nicely with a vulnerable side and Hathaway ably manages to convey the character’s pain at her past and her addictions with little more than a look. It’s a great performance and one of the main reasons to see the film. The supporting cast is suitably eccentric and there are no real weak links. This is the story of a family with a painful history who are trying to paper over the cracks – and we get many convincing glimpses of the turmoil bubbling away under the facade.

Jonathan Demme’s direction may well be both a blessing and a curse. While he gets the best out of his actors, the camera work in particular seems to me to be trying too hard. Either an attempt at giving the film a more independent feel, or just trying to provide a more natural view on the action, the judders, zooms and framing all conspire to create distraction. When the viewer is concentrating on the dialogue, a sudden zoom or losing half the character’s face off the edge of the screen creates a barrier to taking everything in.

Rachel Getting Married is a strong drama, with a very deep dark humour at its base. Unfortunately, it IS a struggle to get through – the 113 minute runtime drags by, much like it would at a real distant family wedding. While the characters all work well, there really isn’t anyone likeable – you can relate, but watching a family struggling to hold itself together is at times painful and makes for a demanding experience. Watch the film to watch a masterclass in acting, but don’t if you want to be entertained.

The Disc: Rachel Getting Married is a film that doesn’t push any visual or auditory boundaries, so the Blu-ray transfer doesn’t have any major difficulties to overcome. Thankfully, Sony haven’t slipped up and what we have is good solid video with no compression artefacts or digital tampering. There is a nice sheen of grain that fits to the tone of the film well and coupled with the sharpness of the 1080p video makes for a good viewing experience. The dialogue-heavy soundtrack again is surprisingly active with good use of the speakers, especially in scenes with large family gatherings creating a sound-field that envelopes the viewer. There are issues relating to the sound source itself – location filming has created a track of limited range however this gives the film a more natural sonic experience.

Colin Polonowski

Updated: May 29, 2009


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