Some of the best movies involve tenuous family situations at weddings and other celebratory events: Think of The Godfather, this year's forthcoming Unconte de Noel (A Christmas Tale), or if you're into dysfunction, Margot at the Wedding. There is something about mutually shared histories, families brought together under one roof, and a little bit of wine to really bring out the best and the worst in people—and to provoke the stories that make for interesting cinema. Rachel Getting Married is one of the more joyful additions to this canon, and one that deeply resonates in the soul.
It's a simple story: Kym (Anne Hathaway), the black sheep of the family, is released from another nine-month stint in rehab, just in time for her sister Rachel's (Rosemary DeWitt) wedding to Sidney (Tunde Adebimpe). Both families and their friends have gathered to celebrate the nuptials. While preparing for the celebration, Kym, Rachel, and the family are forced to confront a painful part of their family history, and all the past hurts and anger surface. When Kym goes missing, the family panics, but forgiveness and healing stems from the deepest hurts and joys they share.
Rachel Getting Married throbs with life from title to credits, employing perhaps the most authentic characters you'll see on screen this year. You'll fall in and out of love with them repeatedly in all their joy, sarcasm, self-righteousness, humor, narcissism, and tenderness. Nobody here is a saint, and there is no villain; even Kym, who could have easily been a sardonic addict in reluctant recovery, is still a sardonic addict, but one in doggedly determined pursuit of recovery—attending AA meetings and working hard to follow the program's steps—with a keen need ...1