Thursday, January 1, 2009

I AM SHIVA THE DESTROYER, YOUR HARBINGER OF DOOM THIS EVENING: Rachel Getting Married combines so many of this blog's interests -- Tamyra Gray, proper dishwasher loading techniques, Elvis Stojko, people who should see In Her Shoes and, of course, Anne Hathaway -- that I'm surprised it took me until today to see it.

To merely call it "well-written" undersells just how perfectly and subtly Jenny Lumet's screenplay reveals this damaged family in all its pain and joy, and I cannot say enough about Hathaway's brittle, bitter, true performance. There's a shot -- when they're cutting the cake -- that just floored me, and this film is just full of magical little touches, unforced moments of recognition, of brilliance, pain and occasional beauty.

[Go back to our August 2004 initial discussion of Hathaway, when the question was whether she, Julia Stiles, Kirsten Dunst, Hillary Duff, Keira Knightley or someone else was most likely to be the next Julia Roberts-level star. Right now, she's winning.]

There are filmmakers who focus on dysfunction -- I'm thinking of Todd Solondz and Noah Baumbach -- whose goal is to make the viewer uncomfortable, to squirm in the face of all that awfulness. Jonathan Demme's goals are different, his heart is larger and this film is so much more rewarding as a result. Highly recommended.

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