Written by Jenny Lumet (daughter of Sidney Lumet), Rachel Getting Married is a family drama about Kym Buckman (Anne Hathaway), a recovering drug addict released from rehab to attend the wedding of her sister Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) at the sprawling Connecticut home of their father Paul (Bill Irwin), a well-regarded music producer. But through the family drama consisting of sisterly rivalry for parental attention overshadowed by a past tragedy is intense, it's too conventional to be the reason to see this film for most indie film fans.
What makes Rachel Getting Married a must-see is how successfully Demme makes the viewer feel like a guest at an extraordinary wedding weekend. It never feels like Demme and his actors are staging scenes for a theater audience, but rather that we are participants in their reality. Reminiscent of the films of Robert Altman, Demme provides multiple stimuli competing for our attention, and relies on cinematographer Declan Quinn and editor Tim Squyres to find the most compelling elements. Though Quinn's handheld HD camera is rarely seen, the consumer-grade digital cameras of Quinn's assistants, who do double duty playing wedding guests, are. With supplemental lighting discreetly hidden and production crew absent or disguised as guests, Quinn has extraordinary range to chase after whatever catches his eye, giving the whole film an exhilarating sense of freedom.
Joining the Buckman clan at the house are a diverse group of family and friends populated by a fine ensemble of actors and musicians drawn almost exclusively from New York City. Musicians Tunde Adebimpe and Donald Harrison Jr. have significant roles while Robyn Hitchcock and many others perform. Remarkably, the music on the soundtrack is recorded on set contemporaneously with the dialogue providing yet a deeper sense of realism and wonder.
A French 5.1 DD dub is also provided along with subtitles offered in English, English SDH, and French.
Standard definition extras include "The Wedding Band" an eight-minute featurette about the soundtrack, "A Look Behind the Scenes of Rachel Getting Married" (15:48) which is conventional but seemingly more genuine than typical behind-the-scenes featurette, a fifty-minute "Cast and Crew Q&A at Jacob Burns Center featuring Jonathan Demme and eight members of the cast and crew, and nineteen minutes of entertaining but superfluous deleted scenes.
The only high-definition extras consist of trailers for this and other Sony Pictures Classics releases.