In a verbose and semi self-obsessed speech, Kym's turn teeters on the edge and makes the audience as uncomfortanle as the characters on screen (Demme's camera bounces between the triangle of father, mother, and Rachel during Kym's monologue). It's the movie moment equivalent to the poster for Rachel Getting Married, where Kym's face is front and in-focus, hogging the space, while a bride and groom remain blurry and distant in the background.
The casting of Anne Hathaway was inspired. Demme must have noticed the actresses large, round, deep eyes contrasted by her still pinkish skin tone like that of a toddler, and dialed-in on a physicality that expressed what he envisioned in his mind. Though I think Hathaway's a talent, and I like her performance in Rachel Getting Married, I also find much of the hoopla over her alleged Oscar-bound performance to be very premature. What Hathaway gives to the role of Kym, and to the movie as a whole, mostly comes from Demme. In certain scenes, and especially when they are her own, you sense an unsureness or overextension of performance from Hathaway. One needs to give Demme credit for reeling her in and cutting around the missteps.
The same "in-training" quality can be felt in the script by Jenny Lumet. In the directorial hands of another, it's likely that Rachel Getting Married would be just another whiny, mid-90's, self-loathing slop fest. And though the hand-held camera and dim lighting of Declan Quinn is appropriate (and well executed) to Rachel Getting Married's subject matter, I must say I missed the pristine quality of usual Demme collaborator Tak Fujimoto and can't see how his style would have brought any less to the final product.
Demme hits his best notes as Rachel Getting Married winds down. After the ceremony, and during the reception, the girls' mother (Debra Winger) tries to sneak out. In a plea that felt like years in the making, Rachel says "wait... I want my mother and I want my sister" and embraces them with closed eyes and thirty years of intensity. Over Rachel's shoulder, Demme shoots the mother, eyes open, saying, "ok Rachel, ok" shoving off gently to get on her way with her new husband. Our confusion over the mom's behavior is identical to the two daughters. In that one moment, Demme makes us feel the gravity from a lifetime of never knowing a parent.
The next morning, as the wedding's best man Kieran (Mather Zickel) says to Kym, "call me if you need anything", she grins, dawning on an earlier scene where the two of them had a quickie in the basement. But Demme shoots Kieran's eye contact with Kym in close-up as he repeats to her "call me if you need anything". This emphasises the concern of Kieran - a fellow addict - cutting through any superficiality from the tryst they shared before.
Demme's film ends with a series of these simple, silent, and shared moments, each displaying exact emotions and answers for the audience but leaving the characters on sceen still twisting a bit, the way we believe they always will be. It's a novel trick. We see how plain the solutions to interpersonal conflicts can be when we're a third party watching fictionalized drama on a movie screen, yet we still walk out with our own unresolved issues in our pockets. It's like Demme is holding up that celluloid in front of our faces but we can't see the answers because they just come off like a bunch of still frames.