September 8, 2008

Star Gazing


On Saturday night Mark and I attended a gala screening of Jonathan Demme's "Rachel Getting Married", starring Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Debra Winger. The screening was preceded by a cocktail reception hosted by Queen's University for alumni and friends. As this was the North American premiere the director and stars were in attendance. As we were about seven rows back from the stage I was rather star struck! Ms. Hathaway is tall and stunning, and she seemed so very sweet. It was a treat to see Debra Winger. I have been a fan of hers for years. We were addressed by Mr. Demme, which had me pinching myself as he is a legend in his own right.
The film was uneven but the performances were stellar. Ms. Hathaway was superlative as the recovering drug addict Kym returning to the family homestead for her sister Rachel's wedding. There is no doubt she should receive an Oscar nomination. It's pretty clear that Kym is not especially welcome, and a dark part of the family's history is revealed. The film is raw, and there is a sense of voyeurism as the scenes were entirely filmed by a hand-held camera (which was quite annoying at times). There were moments where you wanted to leave because you felt you were intruding into some very painful moments in this family's ongoing story. This is a dramatic movie at all turns but it does not become maudlin, which would have easily happened with less capable actors. Debra Winger's scenes are few and between but she strikes the perfect note each time. The film is grounded by the hapless father Paul, played by Bill Irwin. This is a beautiful, moving, honest, and affecting film.

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