Rachel Getting Married is a terse, smart, funny and tough family drama about forgiveness and failure written by Jenny Lumet; it's also a loose, smart, broad and bright film about family and love directed by Jonathan Demme. When these two things are in sync, the end result is something truly impressive – a moving story that appeals to your heart and soul without insulting your intelligence, a film full of big scenes that never stoops to the most obvious possible iteration of those big scenes, a movie loaded with great and sincere performances from the top down. When the two parts of Rachel Getting Married fall out of synch – as they do, most notably, in the last third of the film during Demme's raucous, joyous post-wedding reception – it's less catastrophic than it is curious, and the final film is still very much worth watching.

Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) is getting married; her little sister Kym (Anne Hathaway) is coming for the big event ... which involves getting picked up from her most recent stay at a rehab clinic. A cynic could look at Hathaway's part in Rachel Getting Married and paraphrase Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder: Always go full rehab. And while it's true that the Academy and critics tend to reward gritty, hyperbolic portraits of drug-addiction's misery, the fact is that Hathaway's Kym is not quite as simple as that. Kym knows all the things she's done wrong; she also knows she'll keep doing some of them. Immediately, in the car, the lines of battle are drawn, with Kym going on the offense as part of her defense mechanisms, asking her dad (Bill Irwin) and step-mother (Anna Deavere Smith) about how Rachel's holding up: "Are all of her latent food issues coming up? Is she still hoarding Snickers and Cool Whip under the bed?" Soon, Kym's plunged into the thick of the preparations for Rachel's wedding, responding to the chaos by adding to it. ...