Friday, February 13, 2009

"Rachel Getting Married"

In, "Rachel Getting Married," troubled Kim (Oscar nominee Anne Hathaway) gets out of rehab to attend her older sister's (Rosemarie Dewitt) wedding. Kim looks on as an outsider during hectic preparations for the big day and feels like a psychopath under observation. We've seen the premise of a wedding being interrupted by the appearance from the black sheep of the family before. But somehow director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Philadelphia), writer Jenny Lumet and a brilliant cast make it fresh and painfully real. This family has been deeply wounded by a terrible tragedy and is finally grasping at a bit of happiness. The wedding festivities celebrate love and life with an eclectic group of friends and cultural traditions.

Demme draws you into this family's world. I wasn't watching from the outside, I was experiencing the discomfort at the idyllic rehearsal dinner when Kim raises her seltzer glass to make amends to her sister. I'm not sure Kim consciously tries to upstage her sister's wedding. She wants to be included in the celebration. When she discovers that her sister has chosen someone else to be the maid of honor, she gets angry and pressures her into giving her the role. Kim is desperate to be a part of the family again and to reconnect with her big sister. But her demons keep popping up - pushing them away. A fellow addict explains that the hardest thing after being in rehab is returning to your family. Kim has some serious issues to resolve and needs her family's support at this difficult time.

Kim becomes the catalyst for some painful revelations. Intentional and unintentional wounds are inflicted. What makes this story so moving is that despite the conflict there is love between these sisters. Genuine moments of tenderness. Where there is love, there is the chance for forgiveness. Everything is not wrapped up in a neat wedding package. There are still issues to resolve and new damage has been done. This is the beginning of a very painful rehabilitation. But there is hope too.

Move blessings!
Jana Segal

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