Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Somewhere on an Emotional Desert Highway

Kym was frequently high on Percocet at age 16. Her mother knew this, but still left Kym in charge of her four year-old brother Ethan.

Driving home from a park, Kym lost control of the car and it plunged off a bridge and into a lake. She was not able to get Ethan out of his car seat in time, and he drowned.

Years later, Kym is still struggling with addiction. And with God too, like Job before her.

And then there is the utterly broken relationship with her mother. On the eve of her sister’s wedding, Kym finally confronts her with the loaded questions: “Why did you leave me in charge of him? What were you thinking?”

Rachel Getting Married raises many deep issues. To his credit, director Jonathan Demme has the good sense to leave many of them unresolved. The film is fiction, not a documentary. But it points to the raw emotion involved in human conflict, regardless of whether that conflict is addressed by the criminal law.

The fragmented family Demme depicts could have used a restorative healing circle. That was not to be, though the groom's touching rendition of a Neil Young song at Kym's sister's wedding provides a measure of musical therapy.

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