Jewish people have some very nice traditions. One of them is that on every new moon we have a holiday. This means meat (if you do that sort of thing) and wine, additional thanks in blessings, and for women, especially, a night out with the girls should they choose to accept the responsibility.
It's a tough life and taking it seriously, Tuesday afternoon I zapped off an email to a friend:
Wanna' see a chick flick tomorrow night? My mother-in-law loved Rachel Getting Married.She jumped to it.
Reviewing a book or a movie is tough if you haven't seen it through to the end. And yet, because imagination is important in a therapist's life, there's no need to have to see the whole film to talk about it. Is there?
There's modest time-wasting intolerance in my family, maybe learned or hereditary. But my brother and I were talking one day and it came up that if a movie bores, scares or disgusts me, ten minutes, I'm out of there.
"Me, too! She (my sister-in-law) hates it, but I'll sit in the lobby and read until it's over."
Me, too. But I forgot a book last night, and didn't want to leave my pal alone. This was my idea, going to a movie. Soon into it I whispered into her ear,
"Any time you're ready. . .like . . .uh, if you don't like it. . ."
A shrug, no move to go.
Here's my quick take.
The camera work for Rachel Getting Married and the editing are dreadful. If you know anything about using a camcorder you know that it is hard to pan well. And walking with a steady camera, difficult. Move that elbow and you're nauseous on playback.
This film is like a bad home movie. That, or we got a really bad reel.
You would think I'd like the story-- addiction and loss, family tragedy and guilt, a young woman's inability to forgive herself. It is sad, truly, but people like me are inured to sad. We hear this kind of story on any given day.
But I never mind extending my work day for a little color, a big movie or small, as long as it has passable sensory delight. Rachel Getting Married is set in the rain, dull interiors of a rambling old house in Connecticut, a poorly lit hall for the engagement party, and the basement of a church for Anonymous meetings. Didn't perk me up and wasn't arty.
And yet, ever since The Devil Loves Prada who doesn't love to watch Anne Hathaway? And Debra Winger, you know I loved Terms of Endearment, has never looked better. Ms. Winger makes you feel that over-fifty is just fine, thank you, which it is, or can be.
Rosemarie Dewitt makes a stunning bride who has a legitimate gripe. Her wedding should not be all about her sister Kym, even if Kym did just get out of rehab. Kym should not be the center of their father's attention, spoiling everyone's good time, injecting what might be called Program-Speak* into every conversation.
Thus we have dysfunction in spades and no indication that the family ever worked together in therapy, despite a long rehabilitation for one leaf. If they did family therapy in that rehab, they didn't get it right.
And because they didn't get it right, when Kym goes home, we see high drama, triangulation, broken glass, car wrecks, tears where there should have been joy. Yet there's a prospect of hopeful love, even for Kym, should she get her act together.
But her therapy, her rehabilitation, whatever she's had, isn't complete. She needs more.
How much more? Does Hollywood resolve the drama without more?
I don't know.
We had to leave. The nausea got to one of us, and honestly, I didn't care enough about the people in the film to want to wait it out.
But you might.
If you like listening to toast after toast after toast at engagement parties, you might like Rachel Getting Married. If you like seeing how one leaf of the family tree's psychology can really wreck what should be the happiest week of her sister's life, you'll like being here. If you like A.A. meetings (the best part of the film, in my opinion) you'll like this movie.
But maybe take a Dramamine before you go.
You can see more stills of the movie on Facebook. Make up your own mind. Let me know how it ends.
P.S. Of course my m-i-l can fill me in on how things worked out. It can be an advantage, having one of these.
*Program-Speak is one way of referring to the language of the 12-Step programs. It is not meant, in any way, derogatorily. Would that everyone learned this language.