Volume 78 / Number 20 - October 15 - 21, 2008
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower
East Side, Since 1933

Koch on Film

By Ed Koch

“Rachel Getting Married” (-)

One particularly gifted actress – Anne Hathaway – could not turn this unfinished and confused script into a film worth seeing.

The story is that of a family coming together to attend the wedding of Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt). The first family member we meet is Kym (Anne Hathaway) who has been given a furlough from a rehab residence where she is being treated for drug and alcohol addictions. She also has a cigarette addiction, smoking every waking moment, which apparently goes untreated.

Rachel is marrying Sidney (Tunde Adebimpe). Their interracial marriage is the only normal relationship in terms of how family members on both sides treat one another. The girls’ father Paul is played by Bill Irwin. Irwin, who is not only a fine actor but a clown and mime, does a very good job portraying a loving but confused father of two strong-willed daughters. Abby (Debra Winger) is the girls’ mother, and their stepmother Carol is played by the very gifted actress, Anna Deavere Smith. Regrettably, her minor role does not allow her to contribute very much to the movie.

The Times critic A.O. Scott loved the film and concluded his review, filled with rapturous and adoring language, by stating, “In any case, it would be a shame to miss ‘Rachel Getting Married,’ which may have its flaws, but which is so persuasively forgiving of the flaws of its inhabitants that you can only respond, in like spirit, with love.”

I, on the other hand, felt the picture was aimless, boring and a waste of the audience’s time.

The director, Jonathan Demme, has directed some very fine films, e.g., “The Silence of the Lambs,” and “Philadelphia.” Nobody’s perfect and I don’t doubt that his next movie will make up for this failure.

HS said: “I did not like this movie one bit. Yes, it was professionally done, tastefully photographed, competently directed, and the acting was good, particularly Anne Hathaway as the bride’s unbalanced older sister, Kim, the star of the film. But the action revolved around just how far Kim would go to ruin Rachel’s wedding: how many mad scenes she could initiate; and how many guests she could shock or make miserable. Her role was somewhere between a witch and a bitch. Kim probably couldn’t control herself, but who wants to pay to see a self-centered addict act out to spoil what should have been a happy occasion.

I recommend the film only to students of abnormal psychology, specializing in beautiful young women totally screwed up. It is definitely a niche movie.”

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