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A young woman who has been in and out from rehab for the past 10 years returns home for the weekend for her sister's wedding.
Anne Hathaway and her representatives seem to have it all figured out. If any future rising star actor needs a road-map to see where they need to go next in their career, it looks like Hathaway map is the map of choice.
At the tender age of 23, Hathaway came to Hollywood prominence playing the wife of one of the gay cowboys in Brokeback Mountain. From there she rose to star status in The Devil Wears Prada. She held her own (and then some) acting with Meryl Streep and also showed the world that she can carry an entire film on her own.
From there, she had a lot of choices to make. There's choices an actor makes when they know that their current ability isn't that strong, or there's choices an actor makes when they know that they can knock out any performance out of the park. And Hathaway and her people knew that she was the later. This is a special talent who can become the next Meryl Streep (who seemed to pass her the baton). I know that sounds crazy to some, but Anne Hathaway at the tender age of 25, could be one of the top 5 actors working in Hollywood today.
Already in 2008, Hathaway has starred in the Hollywood blockbuster (Get Smart), the Thriller/Horror film (Passengers - coming out Nov. 2008) and now the independent handheld 16mm shot character study film Rachel Getting Married. In early 2009, we'll then see her in the comedy Bride Wars with Kate Hudson and is rumored to next star with Johnny Depp in Alice in Wonderland. Perfect career mapping.
Rachel Getting Married will perhaps be the least popular Hathaway film but probably the best. This is her swan song performance that tells her future studio bosses and the world that she can ACT and take the audience in to emotional places that are rarely seen on the big screen.
Rachel Getting Married is a family drama that is smart, funny, tough, hard to watch at times and very true. Most of us understand this world and those who don't will understand the emotions that take place inside of this world. This is one of those rare films that touches your heart and soul without insulting your intelligence with typical moronic music cues and over the top soap opera drama. This is a real film that should be made more often.
Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) is getting married and her little sister Kym (Anne Hathaway) is coming for the big event, which involves getting picked up from her most recent stay at a rehab clinic. Yes, another movie about a rehab patient. But what makes this different is that Rachel Getting Married is a REAL story about a rehab patient.
Full disclosure, I am a recovering drug addict. I understand what Kym was going through in this film and the emotional depths Anne Hathaway had to go to perform this role. There have been many films that romanticized or even dramatized this situation, but I haven't seen such a spot on performance ever of what an addict actually goes through after they've beat it (or think they have).
It's a tough bag and you really don't want people to feel sorry for you or to congratulate you, because that's not what it's about. When you beat the addiction (or attempt to), you have so much guilt inside of you, the last thing you want or need is to go to a family wedding. And that's where the conflict comes in in Rachel Getting Married.
Kym understands the mistakes she's made and all those emotions come up this weekend. She just isn't ready for all of this and either is her family. Kym also understand that she's flawed and is very tempted to make the same mistakes again. That's what human nature is all about as many of us tend to repeat our misdeeds because we can't help ourselves.
The trick in recovery is to understand your temptations and just don't act on them no matter how much you want and need to. And that is the toughest thing to do. Ask a pedophile, sex addict, food addict, sports addict etc.... to NOT to what they love to do! And see how hard it is for them. At its core Rachel Getting Married is a family drama about family members looking ahead. The past is the past but the trick is to talk out the past to make sure everything is forgiven and most importantly, the mistakes made won't happen again.
There is a very intense and tough scene between Kym and her mother (played by Debra Winger) that really defines this film. Many times your flaws have been passed down to you and the trick in life is to try to defeat them before they get passed down to the next generation. If there's one thing we humans have learned is that the bad character traits we have are viruses that are hard to stop generation to generation.
Bottom line, Rachel Getting Married is one of the best film of the year. It's not your typical Hollywood film and some will be perplexed by the shooting style, but that's what makes it more fun and interesting.