Rachel Getting Married, Blue-ray (2009)
Director: Jonathan Demme
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Debra Winger, Bill Irwin, Rosemarie Dewitt
Studio: Sony Pictures 30036 [Release date: Mar. 10, 09]
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 color, 1080p HD
Audio: English Dolby True HD 5.1, French 5.1, 2.0
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Extras: Commentary tracks by director and cast, Deleted scenes, Cast & crew Q & A, “A Look Behind the Scenes of Rachel Getting Married” featurette, “The Wedding Band” featurette, BD Live
Length: 113 minutes
Rachel Getting Married certainly sets itself completely apart from all other wedding-oriented movies. Demme explains in the featurette how pleased he was with the way the many actors came together and improvised, along with the live musicians and roving cameras, to create a uniquely exuberant fly-on-the-wall approach to capturing this intimate portrait of a semi-dysfunctional family. The problem is some viewers may not want to be the fly on the wall for 113 minutes – some of of the family tensions are pretty…well, tense.
The weekend-long wedding event at the Buchman family estate is quite a scene. It is pleasing that no special references are made to the amazing racial diversity of the crowd or that this is an interracial marriage. The music – played by musicians hanging out all over the place – is also a mix of middle eastern, jazz, rock, blues, reggae, even a samba band marches into the closing hours. Rachel’s younger sister Kym is the fly in the ointment of the weekend of feasting and music. She has a weekend pass from the rehab center where she is being treated for drug addiction. Her conflicted state is eventually tied to a family tragedy which she helped cause thru being high at the time.
Anne Hathaway is totally believable as the troubled Kym and the relationships with her sister and mother are highlight scenes in the film. Debra Winger as her mother and rubber-faced actor Bill Irwin as her father are superb. The camerawork is mostly hand-held and often extremely jumpy; some viewers have experienced seasickness and had to leave the theatrical showings. But on the smaller home screen I only found it somewhat annoying. Good use of the surrounds and the music-in-the-shot approach, but in a few places the music is suddenly cut to silence at the same time the shot changes, which is a bit disruptive. The Blu-ray transfer appears excellent, though there are many shots insufficiently lit as the cameras roam around – almost in the style of the Danish Dogme 95 school where no artificial lighting or post-production music is allowed.
– John Sunier