'Rachel Getting Married': Wedding Movie Bliss In and out of rehab for a decade, a troubled young woman reunites with her family for her sister's wedding. Jonathan Demme's film dares to mix the bitter with the sweet, and it's suffused with both anxiety and joy.
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'Rachel Getting Married': Wedding Movie Bliss

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'Rachel Getting Married': Wedding Movie Bliss

Review

Movies

'Rachel Getting Married': Wedding Movie Bliss

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ARI SHAPIRO, host:

The candidates may have to prep for another debate this weekend, but you can go the movies. Los Angeles Times and Morning Edition film critic Kenneth Turan recommends "Rachel Getting Married."

KENNETH TURAN: For Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme, "Rachel Getting Married" is a gratifying return to his independent film roots. And for actress Anne Hathaway, of all people, it's a career-changing performance. Hathaway is best known for movies like "The Princess Diaries." Here she plays Kym, an ultra-troubled young woman released from rehab for her sister's wedding. Even though Kym has trouble recognizing where her own needs end and other people's boundaries begin, she gets to make a toast at the rehearsal dinner.

(Soundbite of movie "Rachel Getting Married")

Ms. ANNE HATHAWAY: (As Kym) Ha, ha, ha. Hello, I am Shiva the Destroyer and your harbinger of doom for this evening. I would like to thank you all for coming and welcome you, even I haven't seen most of you since my latest stretch in the big house. But you all look fabulous.

TURAN: Everyone's been to weddings like this, where unresolved issues ignite in front of your eyes. "Rachel Getting Married" also dares to mix the bitter with the sweet. It understands that life-altering situations like weddings not only bring out the worst in human behavior but also the finest. All kinds of tunes, most memorably the a cappella version of Neil Young's "Unknown Legend," run through this film like a river, suffusing it with joy at the moments it needs it most.

(Soundbite of movie "Rachel Getting Married")

Mr. TUNDE ADEBIMPE: (As Sidney) (Singing) So, we're on a desert highway. She rides a Harley-Davidson. Her long blonde hair...

TURAN: If Kym's toast jolts us with its surprising bitterness, that song, sung by the groom as part of the wedding ceremony, lift us up with its unexpected affirmation.

Mr. ADEBIMPE: (As Sidney) (Singing) The chrome and steel she rides colliding with the very air she breathes. The air she breathes.

TURAN: Because it is willing to take chances like this, "Rachel Getting Married" could have gone off the rails any number of ways. It didn't because director Demme's firm but unobtrusive hand gives us the kind of emotionally honest moments that big-studio money can't buy.

SHAPIRO: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for Morning Edition and the Los Angeles Times. You can find more film reviews at npr.org.

(Soundbite of music)

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