This movie is a sad, serious, nearly interminable look inside a dysfunctional family. And while I didn't "enjoy" this movie, I thought it was really good (if you can figure that out). Don't see this movie if you're already in a depressed mood. Or then again, maybe it will cheer you up to realize you're not half as bad off as this family!
Anne Hathaway plays the part of Kym, a drug addict in rehab, who comes home for the wedding of her sister Rachel. There are numerous very awkward and painful exchanges between Kym, Rachel, their parents, step-parents, and friends who are all gathered for the weekend of the wedding.
Hathaway is amazing in this movie. In fact all the acting is great. You can't help but get swept up in the constant banter and arguing as Kym, Rachel, and their parents dredge up old wounds and navigate the swirling waters of anger, bitterness, guilt, and denial.
I have several gripes about the movie, but I'm willing to bet the director intentionally did these things to make you feel the dis-ease of Kym and her family. One is the constant fiddle music being played in the background by Rachel's assortment of artsy, goofy friends. I couldn't wait for the movie to end just to stop hearing those annoying tunes! Then there was the LONG (understatement) wedding reception scene. It reminded me of all the times I've been stuck at wedding receptions for people I didn't know. Again, I'm sure it was a device to make you feel the utter despair of a family that failed to really love one another all along the way.
It was humorous to see Bill Irwin playing the part of Kym and Rachel's father. Irwin was a familiar face throughout my parenting years, as Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street. He's also been a character actor in lots of other TV shows including The Cosby Show. But in Rachel Getting Married he's effective as a father who desperately wants to rewrite the family history but cannot.
One thing I really liked was the positive way Narcotics Anonymous is portrayed in the film. It is a piece of redemption and grace in a movie otherwise devoid of those things. Kym's determination to find healing and friendship among fellow addicts is a picture of how we in the church should pursue authenticity and sanctification with one another. It was inspiring to see Kym make an effort to finally confront her mother, but sad to see how poorly her mother responded.
This is one of those movies that absolutely begs for the gospel. I am so very thankful for what Christ did to free me from my past and break the cycle of family dysfunction. Not that I've arrived by any means, but as I watched this movie I couldn't help thinking, "There but for the grace of God go I."