“It’s gonna be big, I tell ya, big! The party of the century. And we’re gonna have TV on the Radio as the wedding band, and Tom Hanks, and Jeff Daniels, and David Byrne, and Hannibal Lecter, and Toni Morrison, and the guy from Super Furry Animals as the ringbearer, and Hannah Montana as the flower girl, and Howard Zinn as the priest, and Satyajit Ray’s granddaughter as the maid of honor, and Larry King as the sno-cone maker . . . it’ll be big, yeah, big!”
What if Jonathan Demme threw a party and asked you to come? You’d probably initially be flattered by the invitation; after all, the Oscar-winning director and longtime music scenester has certainly racked up an impressive roster of friends over the years. But while it sure would be swell to hang out with a random cross-section of multiculti hepcats for a couple of hours, eventually you’d probably feel that you don’t quite belong. This is the feeling I got not long into Demme’s new self-consciously “back-to-basics” independent film, Rachel Getting Married, in which he shoots a script written by Sidney Lumet’s daughter as an excuse to throw a backyard soiree celebrating his handpicked community of actors, musicians, and artist friends. There’s gobs of tragic backstory and family grudges in Jenny Lumet’s script, but it all gets lost in Demme’s mammoth mixer. The wild wedding at the center of Rachel Getting Married is a simultaneously alienating and ingratiating affair — the film wants you to join the party but keeps reminding you you’re probably not cool enough to be invited.
Click here to read the rest of Michael Koresky’s review of Rachel Getting Married.