I finally saw Rachel Getting Married. Bravo to Anne Hathaway and the entire cast for great performances and for Jonathen Demme’s decision to film in an organic, collaborative and intuitive way.
It’s a movie that stays with you long after the credits roll. I loved the brutal honesty of Hathaway’s character, Kym. It is the type of honesty that makes you uncomfortable yet enviable of her need or perhaps compulsion to tell her truth even when it’s inappropriate. Because of this I was waiting for the moment when she was going to take it too far and ruin her sister’s wedding. Since she was also only hours out of rehab and I was also waiting for her to slip up and drink. Thus even though the movie was free of car chases, explosions and international intrigue, I was literally on the edge of my seat until the credits rolled.
Unlike most mainstream movies this one was filled with eclectic, independent music that played in the background as they filmed. No post production scoring for this flick. If a character had something to say during the reception, they had to say it over the band just like at a real wedding. Since half of the “guests” were musician friends of the musically-based main family, they were able to put amazing artists together in one film (and likewise, one soundtrack).
As frustrating as her truth telling was, you knew where you stood with Kym, what was bothering her, what she needed to deal with and work on. As the family’s darker secrets and deep wounds are revealed you begin to realize that the truths that shape these characters are incredibly painful. You begin to see why their coping mechanisms are what they are and like all good movies the character you’ve pigeonholed as “villain” or “victim” changes as the story progresses.
As the credits rolled, I desperately wanted to know what happened next. It has been three weeks since I watched it and I still find myself thinking about these imaginary people. I want a sequel called Rachel Having a Baby so that everyone can gather again and catch me up on their lives. I want to know if Kym, once she’s a year post rehab and not just 3 days out, still speaks her mind without apology and wants that to be reciprocated or if she, like the rest of us, simply needs a version of the truth to survive and remain clean, sober and sane.
Ultimately the whole movie got me thinking about honesty and how we claim to want it yet become expert at avoiding it, twisting it and misusing it to our advantage. Steven Colbert hit the nail on the head in 2005 when he entered the word “truthiness” into our nation’s vocabulary:
..And that’s exactly what’s pulling our country apart today. ‘Cause face it, folks; we are a divided nation. Not between Democrats and Republicans, or conservatives and liberals, or tops and bottoms. No, we are divided between those who think with their head, and those who know with their heart.
Perhaps in the end, it’s truthiness that really sets us free. As Colbert told 60 Minutes during an interview, “Truthiness is what you want the facts to be, as opposed to what the facts are. What feels like the right answer, as opposed to what reality will support.”
Maybe the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is, in the end, simply too much to handle.