Oct 03, 2008|
(USA) Yes, a wedding takes place. But this film isn’t about one. What it is instead is a marvelously constructed flick by Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme (Silence of The Lambs) about addiction, family dysfunction and acceptance.
Kym (Anne Hathaway) is given a pass from rehab to attend her sister Rachel’s (Rosemarie DeWitt) wedding. After years of therapy, she seems to have finally reined in her addiction, but it soon becomes apparent that the drug Kym is most hooked on is not of the synthetic variety but her continual need for attention. Once home, she immediately wears Rachel’s patience thin with her highly-strung antics—among them demanding (some choice profanity is used) to know why she wasn’t made bridesmaid. And during the rehearsal dinner, Kym fidgets impatiently with an envious eye as guests heap generous words of affection for her sister before hijacking the mike to deliver a speech that is straight out of the pits of her existence. Full of blather and self-revulsion, it is a stellar, toe-curling act; one that sends everyone into a fit of ill-timed discomfiture.
It is Anne Hathaway as we’ve never seen before—there’s no wide smile, her bright saucer-sized eyes reduced to pained windows into a troubled soul. Present at the table is Kym and Rachel’s mother Abby (Debra Winger), divorced from their father, whose home hosts the wedding, and with whom Kym has a complex relationship. The undertow of unease between the pair gushes to the surface later on in such a histrionic fashion, you’ll go: Good God Almighty! Winger clocks in a thoroughly controlled and meaty shift in a welcome return to form from the erstwhile ’80s sweetheart. Dad Paul (Bill Irwin) meanwhile, emerges, along with his wife Carol (Anna Deavere Smith), as the one of the more profound characters of the story. The wedding itself is a wonderfully picturesque tableau of multicultural influences set against some of the best music and dancing you’ll see all year long at the movies.
If you haven’t gotten hitched yet, you’ll want to have a wedding like this; if you already have, you’ll go home bitter for not having one like it. This isn’t great film, merely a very good one; one that’s enjoyable without being uplifting or schmaltzy.