Rachel Getting Married

Those who believe that Jonathan Demme went all soft with Philadelphia and never recovered may not be reassured by his latest movie, an ensemble tale of family pathology gussied up with handheld vérité camera­work, world music and improvising actors. You can find the worst and the best of Demme in this avowed fan’s fond farewell to Robert Altman; yet it’s still a middlebrow domestic drama beating its wings against an experimental frame. The movie is not without its sly rewards, one of which is Anne Hathaway in chopped hair and pleading eyes as the bad seed who threatens to wreck her sister’s hippie nuptials. The actress’s adroit grandstanding (Mad Men‘s Rosemarie DeWitt is also terrific as her straight-arrow sibling) is impressive against a TV-movie plot that features a baffling subtextual plea for interracial love and understanding and a climax full of gaga goodwill. Despite all the distracting flimflam buzzing around them, there’s a searing intensity to the battling duo at the movie’s core: two imperfectly mothered sisters going at it like bantam roosters when they should be closing ranks.

Categories: Movies