The final credit of Jonathan Demme's new film is a dedication to the late, great director Robert Altman. You could say that the spirit of Altman reigns supreme over Rachel Getting Married, an unhurried, unmissable ensemble picture that has the feel of a very special home movie. Kym (Anne Hathaway), sullen and just a tad vengeful, is home for the wedding of her seemingly sunnier sister, Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt). The pre-nuptial festivities bring out the worst in everyone, all awkward toasts and authentic strain, and are at times maddening to watch - but that's part of the plan. By the time the backyard soirée climax arrives - one that you and I would never be cool enough to attend, populated as it is by musicians and artist friends handpicked by Demme - it is a joy just to feel included. And we do, thanks to the visual strategy of the cinematographer Declan Quinn. His hand-held, high-definition camera reproduces, in its weavings and meanderings, an experience we've all had, capturing familial love and strife in equal measure. It also affords his actors all the space they need for discover as they go along. And what a discovery it is. Leading the top drawer cast, there's a reason why Hathaway's buzz has been chainsaw-loud this awards season. Her Kym makes no attempt to ingratiate, yet Hathaway makes her inner torment so tangible you can't help but feel for her. Just watch her act from the inside out during the rehearsal dinner. Having been the unsung link in some of the lauded casts of late (Brokeback Mountain, The Devil Wears Prada), standing by as her co-stars were all Oscar-nominated, she should have the golden boy at her feet this time. A parting shot: at said dinner, the groom's mother (Carol Jean Lewis) says in her speech, "We are one, all of us." She's right. In these times, it takes a film like Rachel Getting Married - heartfelt, sincere, and unexpectedly life-affirming - to unite us.
Rachel Getting Married
The spirit of Robert Altman reigns supreme over Rachel Getting Married, an unhurried, unmissable ensemble picture that has the feel of a very special home movie.
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