Rachel Getting Married (2008) [Blu-ray]
|Sony || R - 113 minutes - $39.95 || March 10, 2009|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-04-03|
Writer(s): Jenny Lumet (written by)
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Bill Irwin, Tunde Adebimpe, Mather Zickel, Anna Deavere Smith, Debra Winger
Theatrical Release Date: October 3, 2008
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** Minor Plot Spoilers **
I love the personal character dramas. Sure, at times they’ll go overboard with some of the drama, but that’s OK as these movies tend to bring out the best performances out of the cast. Rachel Getting Married, however, while indeed providing a foundation for Anne Hathaway, ultimately falls flat.
Directed by Jonathan Demme, Rachel Getting Married is simply the story about an obnoxious recovering addict, Kym (Anne Hathaway), who returns home after a stint in rehab for her sister’s — Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) — wedding. Kym brings with her all the drama and personal issues that rear they’re ugly head at what should be a momentous occasion. Part of this drama is that in her teen years Kym was heavy into drugs and her addiction cost the life of her little brother.
Her father (Bill Irwin) still is in pain over the death and Kym’s mom (Debra Winger), divorced from the father, and has her own issues which come to a head with the wedding in the backdrop. And of course, Kym can’t help but let all of her troubles out into open in front of not only her own family, but the soon-to-be in-laws as well.
Listen, I do appreciate the character dramas but RGM came across more pretentious more than anything. It’s not because of Demme’s handheld direction as if he were directing a Bourne movie or something; in fact it gives the film a certain reality basis. No, it’s the story, by Jenny Lumet, that ultimately fails. I love Anne Hathaway. She’s a fantastic rising star with so much going for her (see: Becoming Jane), kind of like Julia Roberts in her heyday. But this Kym character came across nothing more than an insufferable brat. Hell, even the way her name is spelled is obnoxious.
I get it. Kym has issues. I also get that she has to live with what she has done, but at the same time with the wedding as a backdrop, I felt only detest for her than feeling any other emotion towards the character. Again, not really Hathaway’s fault and I really can’t complain about her Oscar nomination either, but the writing for the character did not do her any favors.
Rachel Getting Married is not a complete waste. The acting from not only Hathaway but the supporting cast from Rosemarie DeWitt (as the title character); Bill Irwin and Debra Winger are all fine. Even Demme’s direction and style reminds me a bit of Lost in Translation in trying to bring a sort of realism to what could’ve been just another wedding movie.
The Blu-ray (and DVD) comes with two feature commentaries: 1. Producer Neda Armjan, Screenwriter Jenny Lumet and Editor Tim Squyres; 2. Actress Rosemarie DeWitt – Both tracks are pretty low-key but provide some behind-the-scenes info about the production. I do wish the DeWitt commentary had someone else as it’s rare that one person can carry a track.
There are a few featurettes: The Wedding Band (7:47), A Look Behind the Scenes of Rachel Getting Married (15:48) and a Cast and Crew Q and A (49:20) – The first two are fairly standard but the Q&A session is extensive. The forum took place at the Jacob Burns Center in Pleasantville, New York and features some members of the crew (director Jonathan Demme, the producer, DP, editor, first assistant director, music scorer, etc) and cast members (Mather Zickel, Bill Irwin).
Deleted Scenes (18:52) – We get 9 scenes with some fine performances but they were cut as it didn’t advance the story any further and more rehashed what is already onscreen.
Last up is the film’s theatrical trailer and a BD-Live portal.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
Rachel Getting Married is presented in widescreen (2.40) and in 1080p high-definition. Since this was more or less an independent movie, it’s not surprising that although the movie itself looks OK in HD, I did find there was quite a bit of noise throughout. Mind you, it doesn’t look bad, just not the upper echelon of Blu-ray discs.
The Dolby TrueHD track sounds fine and actually gets a bit of a workout with the (almost) constant playing of the wedding band but for the most part this a dialogue-driven film and on that level, it’s a fine track.
Rachel Getting Married doesn’t fail because of any of the performances are all great but the screenplay falters with characters that are at best annoying and at worst just plain obnoxious. I respect Jonathan Demme’s directing style as he tries to bring a semblance of realism as if you are in the room, but if it were me, it would slowly back out of the room and leave them to talk through their issues. The Blu-ray isn’t anything fantastic but the video and audio are acceptable with at least one nice featurette.