Rachel Getting Married should be one of those movies that lodges itself into the minds of its viewers and thrives upon word of mouth. Kym, a snarky, drug-troubled twenty-something (played poorly by a wood-dull Anne Hathaway), slips of out her latest rehab facility to attend her sister’s weekend wedding. Angst, weeping and catharsis ensue. Or at least, they should ensue, and to a certain extent, they do. Kym faces her demons – sort of, and Kym, her sister Rachel and their father face their collective past – to an extent. And in one of the film’s best moments, a trembling, unhinged Debra Winger punches Anne Hathaway in the face. Alas, like real life, their problems prove insoluble in so short a time span, and when the credits roll, we realize we’ve merely been exposed to the dreary muddle of a regular family’s sufficiently dramatic interior lives.
Ultimately, it is not the characters that are on display, but rather the rich, ecstatic carnival of multiculturalism that serves as the film’s backdrop. It is, plainly, a liberal’s wet dream. The white, upper-middle-class bride, Rachel, marries into the family of a black musician in an extravagant, Indian-themed wedding wherein no two guests are of the same ethnicity and the music shifts easily from Robyn Hitchcock to sitars to reggaeton. The dream is a wet one because none of it, not a single of lick of it, is acknowledged in the film. The conflicts are all personal, not racial, and no word of race is so much as uttered throughout the film’s two hours.
Despite the merits of the message (or, more specifically, its presentation: plainly unspoken, on the one hand, and deafeningly loud, on the other), it’s nevertheless an attractive thing to look at, as Demme’s pluralistic idyll is captured quite beautifully by Declan Quinn’s lush, swift cinematography.
Were it not so pretty, Rachel Getting Married might not be worth seeing – sort of.