There are so many well observed moments in this uncharacteristic film from Jonathan Demme, that the parts can seem greater than the whole. I`ve seen it twice now, once on its release at the cinema, and once on DVD, but it will be a pleasure to return to it from time to time, not least to see the resourceful, spunky Anne Hathaway as recovering alcoholic Kym, attending her sister`s wedding - which proves to be quite an affair in itself. Kym, we gradually learn, was mostly responsible for a tragedy in the family`s past, which all but Kym want to avoid bringing up.
Hathaway is brilliant, but so are Rosemarie DeWitt as Rachel, Bill Irwin as their appeasing father, and Debra Winger in a smaller role as their nervy, estranged mother (after the tragedy, dad married again). It`s a film in which glances and gestures say as much as words. One remarkable thing, rare in such films, is that Hathaway and (especially) DeWitt do look as if they could be Winger`s daughters. It gives their scenes an edge they might not otherwise have.
Demme has always had a bit of a soft centre (I`m thinking of Philadelphia, say, rather than Silence of the Lambs!) and he could have indulged it to an unacceptable degree here, but he avoids most of those pitfalls.
There`s a lengthy central wedding party scene - in which we first meet Winger - which is virtuosic in its editing (Tim Squyres), directing, and the performances by a variety of actors and bit-part players. Apparently (we learn from the excellent extras that come with this disc) the camera was on everyone all of the time in all the crowd scenes so they had always to be 'on'.
This movie has had its critics, but I like it, it`s not the usual Hollywood fare, it certainly isn`t a rom-com, and the dramas are played for real. Hathaway and DeWitt are totally credible as sisters, and it`s so good to see the divine Debra back in a mainstream film.
Well worth seeing.