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When Kym (Anne Hathaway) returns to the Buchman family home for the wedding of her sister Rachel (Rosemarie Dewitt), she brings a long history of personal crises, family conflict and tragedy along with her. The wedding couple's abundant party of friends and relations has gathered for a joyful weekend of feasting, music and love, but Kym-with her biting one-liners and flair for bombshell drama-is a catalyst for long-simmering tensions in the family dynamic.

Review by Louise Keller:
The occasion may be about Rachel Getting Married but everything else is about Rachel's troubled sister Kym, whose life is on shaky ground. Like Noah Baumbach's 2007 Margot at the Wedding in which the relationship of two sisters are at the centre of longstanding family tensions, Rachel's wedding is a catalyst for the unravelling of pent up emotions and deep seeded resentments. It's good to see Anne Hathaway challenged in an emotionally dense role and here she gives a star turn as the vulnerable Kym whose despicable behaviour is a cry for help. Although Kym is not an especially likable character, Hathaway makes her real and we learn that the unseen bruises are often those that are the most painful.

The film has a sense of immediacy and we feel as though we are guests in the wedding party, largely due to director Jonathan Demme's improvisational approach. Hand held cameras take us right into the middle of the action and although Jenny Lumet's script may be loose, its construction is sound. When we first meet Kym, she has just left rehab to attend the wedding of her sister Rachel (Rosemarie Dewitt) at the comfortable family Connecticut home. The house is filled with people and music but there is a melancholy tone as Kym enters a bedroom with blue walls and stuffed toys on the bedspread to stare out of the window into the garden and adjoining woods. Little by little we learn more and more about Kym and the events that have devastated the family relationships.

Strains become apparent immediately with a paranoid father keeping a watchful eye on his daughter, a sibling tiff about being maid of honour, an embarrassing speech with forced humour at the rehearsal dinner and physical blows between mother and daughter. 'You have no idea what to do with me unless I'm in crisis,' Kym tells her psychologist sibling Rachel, who pleads to be allowed to have just one day that is about her.

The wonderfully complex mix of cultures, actors and bystanders is a mirror for the complexity of life itself and all the performances are flawless. Dewitt is excellent at Rachel, while Bill Irwin and Debra Winger bring great subtleties as the divorced parents who still carry the scars of past events. Tension builds beautifully as we begin to understand the significance of a tattoo, a plate hidden in the cupboard and a lost soul who is learning to recognise truth from fantasy. This is a powerful film that exposes raw emotions, and whose layers build until the satisfying and complete resolution, heralding a beginning, not an ending.

DVD special features include a look behind the scenes, deleted scenes and commentary.

Published July 8, 2009

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(US, 2008)

CAST: Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mather Zickel, Bill Irwin, Anna Deavere Smith, Anisa George, Tunde Adebimpe, Debra Winger, Jerome LePage, Dorian Missick

PRODUCER: Marc E. Platt, Neda Armian

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Demme

SCRIPT: Jenny Lumet


EDITOR: Tim Squyres

MUSIC: Donald Harrison jr, Zafer Tawil


RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 12, 2009

PRESENTATION: 16: 9 widescreen

SPECIAL FEATURES: Behind the scenes, deleted scenes, commentary

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: July 8, 2009

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