Maid of dishonor

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

A disciple of legendarily cheap movie producer Roger Corman in the 1960s, Jonathan Demme established early that he could make a low-budget movie look like a million bucks, and moved easily into big-budget territory with the Oscar-winning, formally rigorous The Silence of the Lambs. As such, the Dogme approach of handheld camera and natural lighting he takes for Rachel Getting Married can be somewhat disarming.

You could say the same for the performance of Anne Hathaway as Kym, an intense portrait of a raging narcissist with bad hair on a weekend break from rehab for the nuptials of her sister (Rosemarie DeWitt, who we're bound to see more of).

Demme's style this time turns out to be a fitting companion for the sort of intimacy within Jenny Lumet's screenplay. Basically, she pulls the scab off a family's deep wound and he fixes his lens on what's underneath.

The wound came from Kym in her heavily medicated days, and an awareness of it is almost always present in loving but irritated Rachel, in their overprotective father (Bill Irwin) and in the distance their mother (Debra Winger) keeps from all of them.

As the central drama plays out, unwelcome distraction comes from the more exhausting parts of Hathaway's performance and a forced feeling of multiculturalism. (An Indian-themed wedding with Brazilian carnivale dancers -- seriously?) But if you can tune out that loudness, you'll find a subtle, touching, ultimately hopeful statement about punishing the ones you love.

"Rachel Getting Married"

Opens Friday at Landmark's Gateway Theater