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Movie Natters: January 20, 2009 Archive

A cinema of despondency

Posted at 4:46 PM on January 20, 2009 by Euan Kerr

We finally managed to take in "Rachel Getting Married" over the weekend, and it's another brilliant entry into this season of the cinema of despondency.

Jonathan Demme's tale of Kym (Anne Hathaway,) the recovering addict who gets out of rehab just in time to attend her sister's wedding leaves you sunburned from the raw emotion pulsating out of the characters. There are moments of joy, but the film is really powered by the electricity of dysfunction in Kym's family.

As the family members re-open old wounds, and perhaps worse revisit the dissatisfaction they have with how they each dealt with those past offenses, their anger and hurt takes on new dimensions. This all takes place in the midst of a crush of people who have come from far and wide for the celebration, just heightening the tension. (Have you ever seen so many cameras and musical instruments in a feature film? It's quite astonishing, although the re-appearance of singer Sister Carol who sang at the end of Demme's "Something Wild" is a moment of real pleasure.)

Hathaway is magnetic one moment and repellant the next. She introduces herself as Shiva the Destroyer when giving a toast at the rehearsal dinner, which induces flinches more than laughs from the crowd.

It's well worth seeing, but I am feeling more and more pity for the members of the Academy who may have to sort out the varying levels of agony as they consider nominations for this years Oscars. What with "Rachel," "Revolutionary Road," "The Reader," "The Wrestler" and even elements of "Slumdog," it makes for brutal viewing.

We'll find out when the nominations come out Thursday morning.

January 2009
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