Rachel Getting Married

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Rachel Getting Married Movie Poster Image
Intense, insightful family drama celebrates love.
  • R
  • 2008
  • 111 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A dysfunctional family, still mourning the death of a loved one, unravels during a wedding weekend. Feelings are honestly aired, and the words sting. But there's also a whole lot of love going around, and not just because the central event is a wedding. Though angry with each other and deeply confused, relatives clearly care for each other and wish each other well.

Violence

Screaming and arguing among family members. At one point, two relatives actually get physical, and it's ugly, though very telling. A character purposefully drives straight into a street sign and beyond.

Sex

Two people who are virtual strangers have a quick tryst in a dark room (hardly any nudity shown). Some suggestive dancing.

Language

Frequent strong language includes "f--k," "s--t" "c--ksucker," and "bastard."

Consumerism

Some mentions of Rite Aid, the Olympic Games, and the TV series Cops. Pellegrino bottles are displayed prominently.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The central character is a former junkie, and there's frank conversation about things she's done while high. She also smokes. Several scenes show Narcotics Anonymous meetings; the 12-step process is referred to often. Some social drinking during a wedding and rehearsal dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this intense family drama addresses certain subjects -- drug addiction, death, family dysfunction -- that may be overwhelming for younger teens who are drawn to it by Anne Hathaway's star power. But they're dealt with so sensitively and compassionately that older teens may find the film quite impactful. Expect plenty of swearing and social drinking (as well as discussions about alcoholism and drug use). Characters also explore dark emotional terrain, and adult family members are hurtful -- verbally and physically -- to each other.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byfanofdenial January 21, 2016

Patience is a virtue

Rachel Getting Married may be too slow moving for some viewers, but for those who are willing to sit and watch the deliberate plot movement and character develo... Continue reading
Adult Written byZeeber November 8, 2008

Great movie, but definitely only for older teens

Anne Hathaway does an incredible job in this movie. While the overall message of forgiveness and love is beautifully portrayed by this movie, it is quite a sad... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byilikemovies13 July 5, 2009

Amazing Movie For Older Teens

This was a truly moving and amazing movie. It dealt with some really heavy issues and I found it to be amazingly thought provoking. It was well written with few... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bydwiggit101 January 10, 2010

Very insightful and great movie! :)

I loved this movie! It's all about forgivness. Not only is it about forgiving other people, but it's about being able to forgive yourself and turning... Continue reading

What's the story?

As the title proclaims, Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) is getting married. In the works is a joyful, multicultural wedding -- she's a WASP, her fiance is African American, the theme is Indian -- that promises to embrace everyone into the fold, even Rachel's wayward sister, Kym (Anne Hathaway). On furlough from yet another stint in rehab, Kym's determined to keep it together. But it's not easy, especially when you're confronted by a well-meaning father (Bill Irwin) who hovers and shields the enormous pain he obviously feels, a distant mother (Debra Winger) who's determined to move on even if it means leaving you behind, and a sister who can't quite mask her rage even on the happiest of days. And then there's the past: The consequences of a family tragedy that happened while Kym was high are still omnipresent.

Is it any good?

RACHEL GETTING MARRIED is stunningly moving, though there will be viewers who will be frustrated by its pace. It takes its time to blossom, dwelling on moments that many other, lesser films would have skipped (the dishwasher contest, the musical interludes). But in making that artistic decision, director Jonathan Demme manages to get us so invested in his characters that it feels like whatever's happening onscreen is happening to us, and we're unquestionably moved. Long after the credits roll, we'll still be thinking about it.

Kudos belongs to so many: To Hathaway, for reminding us once more -- after Brokeback Mountain -- of her deep well of talent (her big eyes and nearly too-gaunt face serve her well in such a haunting -- and haunted -- role). To the rest of the ensemble for turning in such fine-tuned performances, neither overplaying nor underacting. To the masterful Demme, who allowed the script to breathe. And to screenwriter Jenny Lumet (daughter of acclaimed director Sidney Lumet). One of the things that makes a screenwriter great is the ability to tell the truth, which Lumet does beautifully. If only every wedding ceremony was as unorthodox, as stirring as this one.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages. What does it say about the power of forgiveness, especially of forgiving yourself? How is the movie similar to, and different from, others that deal with addiction? Is it a realistic portrayal? Does that make it easier or harder to watch? Are there typical clichés and pitfalls that this movie manages to avoid? Which ones, and how? Families can also discuss why Kym acts the way she does when she comes home. Why does she seem so uncomfortable? How does her family react to her? Why?

Movie details

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