Film / Rachel Getting Married

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Rachel Getting Married is a 2008 drama film about Kym, the Black Sheep of her family, who was released out of rehab just in time for her sister Rachel's wedding. And naturally, things start to spill.

Directed by Jonathan Demme, the film stars Anne Hathaway as Kym (a role for which she received an Academy Award nomination) and Rosemarie DeWitt as the titular Rachel.

This film provides examples of:

  • And Starring: Debra Winger.
  • Bitter Wedding Speech: Kym, who has just gotten out of rehab, makes a speech at her sister's rehearsal dinner apologizing for her past actions because she is jealous of the attention her sister is getting.
  • Black Comedy
  • Black Sheep: Kym.
  • California Doubling: Averted; the movie was actually shot in Stamford, Connecticut, where it's set.
  • Creator Cameo: Variation. Legendary cinematic schlockmeister Roger Corman plays one of the wedding guests. Demme is one of several high-profile directors to have apprenticed under Corman. note 
  • Damage-Proof Vehicle: Kym, angry after a fistfight with her mother, purposely drives her father's Mercedes off the road, over a road sign, into the woods and then crashes into a rock. Although the airbag deploys, when we see the car in the morning light, the front end isn't even dented.
  • Dinner and a Show: Subverted for the most part. Much of the escalation happens when the family is at home, but it's hard to have any privacy when the wedding party is in the same home at all times.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Rachel and Kym's family. Lampshaded by Kym during her speech at the rehearsal dinner.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The movie is about the titular Rachel preparing to get married, but it also focuses on the Dysfunctional Family as well.
  • Foreshadowing: Pay attention to what Walter says in the very beginning of the movie "Did ya kill anybody recently? Run anybody over with your fucking car? At first, it seems like the ramblings of a clearly unstable person, then you find out that Kym accidentally killed her younger brother by driving into a ravine while high.
  • It's All About Me: Kym is so self obsessed she throws a tantrum when she realizes her sister's wedding is not about her rehabilitation.
    • Not to say that Rachel doesn't have her moments, accusing their dad of "defending" Kym.
    • Kym and Rachel seem to actually be a variation of The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry in which Kym is out to prove that she's better and Rachel is, well, getting married. Rachel even pulls the news of her pregnancy out during a heated argument. Everyone cheers up and congratulates her, while Kym is left angry, miserable, and still unable to settle things with her family.
  • Jerk Ass: Kym can come off as such, but she's of a different flavor.
    • And then there's Mom...
  • Jitter Cam: Demme wanted the film to look like "the most beautiful home movie ever made", so he eschewed the usual practice of setting up shots before filming scenes, leaving the cinematographer and his crew free to react to the scene the way they thought best as it played out.
  • Leave the Camera Running: At times, it looks like the movie was cut together from footage the guests took with their camcorders.
  • Left the Background Music On: Non-humorous example; the background music is generally the sound of the wedding band practicing prior to the big day, and the father asks the musicians to stop playing during a very intense emotional moment
  • Mood Whiplash: Realistically for a wedding weekend where one member of the family is fresh from her latest stint in rehab, scenes can go from tense dysfunctional-family drama to lighthearted and joyful, then back again, within minutes (The dishwasher scene is a prime example).
  • My Greatest Failure: Kym accidentally driving off a bridge and causing her little brother to drown because she was high. Rachel almost never lets her live it down.
  • Off the Wagon: Averted. Despite the fact that she's in a situation that would be fraught with triggers even under the best of circumstances, and the many times we see her going off by herself, Kym stays clean and sober through the weekend.
  • Oscar Bait: Anne Hathaway was nominated for an Oscar for her role in this film. Her second attempt was more successful.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Boy howdy, it sure does.
  • Stepford Smiler: Kym and Rachel's mother.
  • Title Drop: During one of the rehearsals.
  • Tropaholics Anonymous: While she's in town for the wedding, Kym attends the meetings of a local NA chapter.
  • Wham Shot: After Kym and Rachel's dad demands more dishes for a dishwasher loading contest with Sidney, Kym grabs a random stack of plates. The dad grabs the one on top, but it gives him pause. After everyone except Kym leaves, it pans over to the plate which reads "Ethan" The name of Kym's brother who she accidentally killed.