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.