Rachel Getting Married – A Review

This is the kind of movie that leaves you wanting more… fists. I wanted to punch Jonathan Demme after seeing it. If I had twelve hands, I would hit him with each of them. Everything about Rachel Getting Married is grit-in-the-eye irritating. From the home-video aesthetics to the Hindu-themed wedding (for non-Hindus), the movie is a How To-guide for making audiences wince. The lead character (and I choose my words carefully here) is the single most irritating woman in the history of cinema. I want to declare war on Rachel Getting Married. Like slavery, polio or pterodactyls; it’s better off eradicated.

The movie starts (ugh) with Anne Hathaway. She’s smoking a cigarette but she doesn’t have a gun – so she must be playing “edgy”. If she had a gun she’d be a bad girl. Or better yet, she might shoot herself. But no such luck. She’s getting out of rehab. It’s her sister’s wedding. Rachel [is] Getting Married. Anne has been given a weekend off from therapy to attend the nuptials (and pick up an Oscar nomination). This means she has to not drink or take drugs as noticeably as possible; renounce sympathy as needily as she can; and blame the love of her family for making her such a f— up (which would be outrageous, except: I’ve seen her family).

There’s a line in an F. Scott Fitzgerald story that sums up my feelings about Anne’s character. In The Four Fists, a man is described as having “hittable qualities about his face”. And it’s not that I would wish to condone violence against women for one moment, but when Debra Winger socks Hathaway one: I wanted to applaud. Never, in all my years of watching movies, have I so singularly disliked an individual. Hathaway’s acting is flawless, but the girl she’s playing is the kind of person you’d aim for if you saw her crossing the street. “Kym” – as she’s called – is needy, spiteful, mean-spirited, self-absorbed, useless, whiney, humourless and self-aggrandizing. You know that person you knew in college – the one who was always talking as though everything they said was the wisdom of Solomon; who always wanted you to listen even though you could never possibly understand. Imagine watching a two hour movie about them.

And the worst part is: that isn’t the worst of it. Pretty much everyone in the movie has “hittable qualities”. Kym’s father is the kind of spineless, cloying, doily-man you wouldn’t waste time blowing your nose on. Her sister has planned possibly the most stupefying idiotic wedding ceremony in history. Her brother-in-law is a f—ing JAZZ MUSICIAN. And the guy doing the music at the wedding is a wanker (what the hell was all that “Rachel, Rachel, Rachel” “Sidney, Sidney, Sidney”- song about?!!?). And the brother-in-law’s friends are wankers. And so’s the bloody Sting-wannabe (we’re talking lute-period Sting here) who sings at the after-party. And there’s a TEN MINUTE SCENE where people load a dishwasher. Am I a bad person for wanting all of these people dead?

There’s worthwhile subject matter at the heart of this movie. Examining the effects of addiction on the addict’s family is a fine and admirable premise. It’s just that… I hated it. I hated it so much that it wouldn’t matter if Rachel Getting Married cured cancer: I’d still boo. I realise my reasons are mostly ad hominem; that they don’t stand up to reason, and they fail to consider the movie as a work of art. But look – you and I – we’re human, we relate to people in movies. If you were trapped in a burning church with Kym and Rachel, you’d regret their company before the lack of a fire escape.


5 Responses to Rachel Getting Married – A Review

  1. Michael Dean says:

    Thank god for this review.

    Seems like a current meme concerning media is their “slobbering love affair” with Obama. Perhaps people should be more concerned with the media’s “slobbering love affair” with this, perhaps the worst film of all time.

    Did the critics WATCH the movie?

    Holy crap there’s so much bad in this thing its almost impossible to articulate each nauseating point. Like a migraine, the best thing about it ending is that you have trouble remembering the pain you were in.

    Here’s a few of my qualms:

    The acting was atrocious (Anne Hathaway looks CGI and I bet Pixar could code better emotion). Mostly from the supporting cast though: such forced/improperly timed emotion. The dad character? Ugh. Mom character? Bad too, not quite as bad. Dude from TVOTR? Well, he was good at pretending he had never met the woman he was about to marry.

    The editing was so bad. Just unacceptably bad. Reminds me of my Ball State “filmmaking” days. Also they couldn’t quite decide where the third-wall was. I’m still not sure if they were going for cinema verite or mockumentary.

    The whole movie was like a big in-joke we were never let in on. No character development whatsoever, just blank-faced (and awkwardly emotive) stereotypes squinting and furrowing their eyebrows. The script was somehow sentimental and emotionally detached simultaneously. Everything about everyone’s acting is so precious and calculated for ACTING! effect.

    The dishwasher scene? Really? Has she ever been to a wedding before? Better question: has she ever seen black people and white people interact, particularly around their families? Oh, and did Kimberly and the black nurse from the hospital get it on? That was a weird little unresolved plot issue.

    Things I did like: that it ended? I honestly cannot say one positive thing about this movie at all, and I tried to think of things.

    Oh, and why did the movie transform into a music video at the near end?

    Sure, Demme may have made a good movie or two…but he gets no pass for this piece of self-adoring garbage. Give me $10,000, a DV camera, and some theater students/community theatre actors and I’ll make a movie that’ll look like a masterpiece next to this runover possum.

    Thanks again for reassuring me I’m not insane,

  2. Andrew Harbringer says:

    I too fell victim to these clueless critics that gushed over Hathaway’s coming out party. I’m convinced that if I did a little research and asked around, I would saved a few hours of my life by avoiding this overly contrived piece of garbage. There wasn’t an ounce of reality in that movie! That rehearsal dinner was a farce. Are you telling me that there wasn’t one person in attendance that night that wasn’t rolling their eyes at the silliness of all those speeches of love and happiness. And that black family should’ve been laughing their asses off at all those goofy, rich crackers.

  3. What a relief to encounter this review after scanning the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, where this miserable excuse for a film received nearly all positive reviews. One reviewer actually proclaims:

    “Those who surrender to Demme’s disarming, almost participatory technique will find themselves overwhelmed, exhilarated and inspired by the eternal possibilities of cinema.”

    Did we watch the same film? How anyone could feel anything but annoyance and murderous rage while viwing this indulgent, incongrous piece of crap? It may possibly be the worst movie I’ve ever seen.

  4. Heapnose says:

    I enjoyed reading this review far more than I enjoyed watching the movie. I finally feel like I got my six quid back. You just made my day.

  5. D.J. Burroughs says:

    I must be a masochist, because I chose to re-watch a chunk of this movie last night on cable. Hated it as much now as when it was released. I googled some reviews because I wanted to confirm that there were sane people out there who found this as annoying as I did. (Hooray.) The flick is such a self-congratulatory liberal multicultural fantasy — really just an artsy version of the “Cosby Show” in this respect. Now on a certain level you can say “we should all be kind ‘n respectful to all types of people” and there is therefore nothing negative about multicultural fantasies, per se (Demme’s and Lumet’s smugness notwithstanding). But what amused me was the filmmakers’ blind spot to the fact that this tale of Dysfunctional Kym can readily be interpreted as an indictment against the hyper-“evolved”, groovy/liberal/artsy/
    multicultural family it takes such pains to celebrate! After all, it’s that family system that produced and unleashed upon the world (and her poor dead brother) — hyper-screwed-up Kym. Tee hee hee.

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