Critics praise Anne Hathaway in Rachel Getting Married

If “The Wrestler” bears witness to the resurrection of actor Mickey Rourke, then “Rachel Getting Married” stands as representation of Anne Hathaway’s emergence into full-fledged actress. Far removed from the days of “Ella Enchanted” or “The Princess Diaries,” Hathaway explodes onto screen with a powerful performance as a recovering drug addict that has earned her a Best Actress Oscar nomination.

Just as the title suggests, a woman named Rachel is indeed getting married. The point of the movie, however, is the repercussions of this wedding on an already dysfunctional family. Over the course of two days, we learn secrets and truths about these people which uncover more than just sad, explanatory information.On short leave from a rehab center, Kym (Hathaway) stumbles back into her father’s Connecticut house where the wedding is being held, spewing insults, sarcasm, and cigarette smoke at everyone. Kym’s sister Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) is well-kept, successful, and happily in love. There is not a sibling rivalry between them, but more a quietly bitter acknowledgment of social acceptance.

Working with a script from legendary director Sidney Lumet’s daughter Jenny, Jonathan Demme creates more than just memorable characters. Anyone familiar with Demme’s previous work, films such as “Philadelphia,” “The Manchurian Candidate,” and “The Silence of the Lambs,” may consider “Rachel Getting Married” a unique removal from tradition. While this choice of story may not seem typical, I believe there are personal attributes connected with the movie that make it special to the director.

The entire film is shot with a handheld camera, giving it a documentary-style quality. This technique is important, because it adds to the film’s sense of realism. In this way, the audience is not watching a movie per se, but simply footage someone acquired while submersed in these people’s lives. The camera use also adds intensity and depth to the performances, which are all phenomenal.

“Rachel Getting Married” is a triumph of uniquely grand proportions. Anne Hathaway will probably not win the Oscar for Best Actress because this is, without question, Kate Winslet’s year. But winning is not everything. What Hathaway has done with this performance is astonishingly intense and, in short, perfect. I pray, now, that Disney does not confront her with “The Princess Diaries 3,” because films like “Rachel Getting Married” are treasures that don’t have to be buried.

Source: Student Printz