29 October 2008

Rachel Getting Married (2008)

So the director of Silence of the Lambs comes out with a movie about a messed up, troubled, and still in rehab Anne Hathaway returning home for her sister's weekend wedding. Hathaway's Kym snipes at everyone, is desperate for attention, and basically kind of ruins everything. But it's not like she hasn't done this before. The two sisters show how you don't necessarily need to be a sociopath to rip people apart -- just family will do. They eviscerate each other with words and memories and then sorta make up and then do it all over again.

I saw the movie in a theater of older folk and I'm wondering what kind of reaction they had, or if they were expecting an entirely different movie altogether. While I can't say every minute of the film was amazing, in sum, I really enjoyed it. Jonathan Demme's use of hand-held cameras brings you closer to the characters and was an excellent stylistic choice. Hathaway is being touted for an Oscar and I think she deserves a nomination.

Overall, a film like this brings forth emotion from an audience. Some of it is yanked out of you but many of the moments are genuine. Heck, half the time you want to slap Kym and tell her to grow up, just as if you were her family. While I wouldn't necessarily recommend this to everyone, I think the film did a nice job illuminating dysfunction in people and families and I left the theater pleasantly surprised and with a lot to think about. Can't ask for too much more I guess.

There is one slightly jarring thing about the film. It's almost aggressively multi-ethnic. I'm not sure if I'm just being overly sensitive here but it looks like they really went out of their way to present the couple -- and the family -- as the most Benetton friendly thing on Earth. The sister is white, the guy she's marrying is black (although the movie poster doesn't represent that at all, on purpose?), and they're having an Indian wedding (but strangely, no Indians in attendance). The guests are a cross-section of a whole bunch of not too stereotypical stereotypes. As if to say "We're super eclectic, we have friends from all over!" When they trotted out the middle aged white mom DJ working the decks, I kind of couldn't stand it anymore. The film takes BEP's line to heart a little too much maybe. "Got black to Asian, and Caucasian saying, that's that's the joint, that's the jam."

That sounds like it would be a good thing, and it's kind of cool how the movie doesn't address it at all, but then again, it felt a little bit forced.

Another reason I was excited to see the movie was because I'm a big fan of slam poet extraordinaire Beau Sia and he had a decent sized role. I'm not sure who cast him but I love that he's getting out there. I hope his acting career takes off because that guy totally deserves it.
"If there is anyone in the entertainment industry watching me perform, I want you to keep in mind, that regardless of how you feel about the content or performance of my work, that if you're casting any films, and you need a Korean grocery store owner, a computer expert, or the random thug of a Yakuza gang... then I'm your man!"
-Beau Sia, Def Poetry Slam-