Monday, March 23, 2009

I am Shiva the destroyer, your harbinger of doom this evening

I am biased toward Anne Hathaway, probably because people tell me I look like her (it's flattering, though I don't see it), but she makes things easier for me because she's a really talented actress. The girl who was a high-school-student-turned-princess at the beginning of her career made an amazing transformation into the troubled Kym in Rachel Getting Married.

Not all is well in Kym's family, which is made immediately made apparent. Kym is sitting on a bench next with a pyromaniac and a nurse, waiting for her father to pick her up. The pyro, twitchy as he is, gives us some important information: Kym has killed someone with a car. We won't find out until much later in the film about what happened exactly, and the circumstances surrounding Kym's rehab lurks in the background while she is home.

Hathaway (The Princess Diaries, Becoming Jane) plays a much different role than I've ever seen of her. She isn't America's sweetheart. Instead, she is a snarky, bitter young woman who purposely makes things difficult. For instance, when she says she's thirsty, her step-mom offers her a diet Coke. Kym's response: "I prefer Pepsi, from a fount

Her character quickly cycles through emotions. When Kym first sees her sister Rachel the two are giddy, giggling and finishing each other's sentences; however, a few hours later have the two sniping at each other when Kym takes offense at something. She's constantly on the outside, sitting away from people, being told not to do something and being kept in the dark about things. Kym also isolates herself, unable to step aside and let the spotlight shine on her sister. Instead, everything has to be about her recovery and return, which causes fighting.

It isn't until Kym predictably hits rock bottom tha
t she and her sister come together again and make amends for the fighting of the past few days. Kym isn't just going to rehab anymore, it's really working at this point in the movie.

The movie feels less like a movie and more like we are watching a few days in their lives. This is mostly because of how the movie is shot - the shaky, moving camera and minimal soundtrack make it seem like a documentary - and because the actors are so natural in the way they interact with one another.

The fun thing about this movie is that even thoug
h it is so realistic in the way it's shot and acted, it still seems like looking at another world. The dad acts more like a mom, fussing and worrying over Kym, doing the dishes and making food; Kym is self-destructive and can't just let things be nice; there are musicians constantly playing music around the house because they're there for the wedding; and the wedding itself is more a traditional Indian wedding, which makes you feel as if you're not watching a white woman and a black man getting married in Connecticut.

The movie is touching but slow moving. There are long periods of quiet and the plot moves forward an inch at a time. Also, try not to be confused by thinking Hathaway is Rachel. I had to keep reminding myself that Rachel was the sister and Hathaway was Kym. This is probably because Hathaway is the main character, but it isn't her name in the title. For some, this is a movie to skip, but I thought it was worth a rental, just to see it once. But probably one time only.

Rachel Getting Married was released on DVD on March 10. The DVD has the usual extras - deleted scenes, cast and crew commentary, and behind the scenes - but it also has a piece on the wedding band, which was nice because the band was present throughout most of the movie.

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