Indiana University Bloomington

Indiana Prevention Resource Center (IPRC)

Rachel Getting Married – an Inconvenient Time for Recovery

Jonathan Demme’s latest movie, “Rachel Getting Married”, features Anne Hathaway (Kym) as a woman who gets out of rehab just in time for her sister’s wedding. And she’s not the only person in recovery at the wedding, where the skeletons in the family closet threaten to spoil the party.

Scenes from an A.A. meeting set the stage for the drama that unfolds when the prodigal daughter returns home for the wedding preparations, but the film steers clear of stereotypes. What’s made clear is that the recovery process isn’t something that people do by themselves.


© Sony Pictures Classics

You are likely to find yourself pulling for Kym, and wishing that she would find a more convenient time to try to make amends with her family. Her sister Rachel, wonderfully played by Rosemarie DeWitt, reveals her own flaws, as the whole family almost unravels. The estranged mother, portrayed by Debra Winger, manages to keep her distance from everyone, shedding light on the burden of guilt that weighs Kym down. While this might sound like a very heavy film, there are rays of sunshine that keep things in balance.

At times, Rachel Getting Married feels like a home movie, in its’ informality and intimacy. It cannot be pigeon-holed as a “recovery movie”, but it certainly adds to our understanding of getting well. I highly recommend it.

*This review is one person’s view, not an endorsement of the movie by the IPRC.
For more information visit http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1084950/

By Merrill Hatlen,   12/4/2008