October 3, 2008

Women at the Box Office This Weekend

Rachel Getting Married has a great script by Jenny Lumet, a wonderful leading actress -- Anne Hathaway as Kym -- a great supporting actress -- Rosemarie DeWitt as Rachel -- but the bad news is they are all stuck in a self indulgent loooong drawn out film by Jonathan Demme.

Demme has spent the last couple of years making documentaries and he pushed his realistic camera techniques onto this film making it at times very hard to watch. I felt that I had to fight to focus to what was happening onscreen. I'm guessing that was part of Demme's technique to show us Kym's jarred and dysfunctional world, but by the end it was self-defeating. I was angry and had a whopping bad headache.

The premise is, as you can probably surmise is the wedding gathering of Rachel where the dark secrets of a seemingly normal looking suburban family are exposed for all to see. This family is wrecked by drugs, lies and most especially by guilt. Kym, played by Hathaway, is a recovering drug addict let out of rehab for the wedding and she returns to reeks havoc, but also to confront deeply buried wounds.

The best scenes in the film were when Demme let the camera be still, especially at the AA meetings. The emotions of the actors at those meetings was extraordinary. There is also an amazing confrontation scene with Debra Winger who plays her mother that was very strong.

Anne Hathaway's self loathing is palpable in her most mature performance to date. This is clearly the mark of an actress on the rise. She allows herself to be raw and exposed in ways she has never done before. I was very impressed. She pretty is much guaranteed a best actress nomination, and I really wished the film had lived up to her performance and to Jenny Lumet's script.

Film opens today in NY and LA and will roll out throughout the country in the coming weeks.

Other Women-Centric Films in Theatres
Hounddog: Concerned Women for America is working to boycott Hounddog. It's important not to let the right-wing efforts shut down giving people the ability to judge the film for themselves. To counteract the right, the distributor is offering free tickets for the NY engagement this weekend. Director Deborah Kampmeier will be doing a Q&A following the 5:15pm show Saturday at the Cinema Village. The film is also still playing at the Roxy in Philadelphia. Please check out my piece on Hounddog (disclaimer, I am consultant to the film) Keeping Hold of Your Vision

Nights at Rodanthe
The Duchess
The Women

Frozen River
Trouble the Water
The Family That Preys
The Longshots
Mamma Mia!