‘Rachel Getting Married’ Oscar contender; Networks fight for hit primtetime spring lineup

John Sturgeon

Weddings are supposed to be a celebration of two people coming together surrounded by their family and friends, but in “Rachel Getting Married,” director Jonathan Demme allows us to observe all the aspects of a wedding with an interesting twist.

The sister of the bride, Kym (Anne Hathaway), has spent years in drug rehab and gets permission to attend the wedding, setting off conflict that shows the pain Kym’s problem has caused the family.

Shot documentary-style, this is an actor’s film, where the audience gets to witness the events in realistic fashion without music blaring in every scene or slick editing.

Rosemary Dewitt plays Rachel, and it is apparent from the get-go that she approaches her relationship with Kym with a lot of caution due to what happened in the past.

Their father has remarried after Kym’s actions helped cause the downfall of his relationship.

Kym struggles with being treated like a child and hates the constant checkups and having to ask permission to use a car or go somewhere.

All Kym wants is to be accepted by the family, but something eats at her that involves her real mother and her younger brother.

Rachel is marrying a black classical musician named Sidney.

Through the vows and stories of how they met, the relationship seems believable, and it is interesting to witness the two families’ cultures merge.

The music at the wedding gives the audience a glimpse of what Sidney’s family is like, and even the ceremony is different than what one would typically expect to see at the wedding.

Kym asserts herself in the role of the bridesmaid and tries to appear normal.

Her father dedicates a lot of attention to her, and this causes Rachel to become jealous and lash out, leading to an uncomfortable part of the film where Kym’s dark secret is revealed and the whole family is forced to relive the pain.

Hathaway does great work showing the deep pain, sadness and wear and tear her addiction has caused her.

She does not glow like she has in her other movies and instead looks like she has been through a war.

Watching her struggle with the inability to let the past go provides gripping drama throughout the film.

Come Oscar season, she should definitely be nominated for her performance here.

The movie takes the viewer on a turbulent and deeply emotional ride through an unforgettable wedding weekend and is well worth going out of your way to see.

It has been a tough year for new shows to capture a large audience.

With the Internet, DVR and video games, fewer people are watching shows when they air, making it harder for networks to determine which shows to keep on their schedules.

The writers’ strike last year caused a decline in viewership that even established hits felt.

As shows near the midseason point, networks must decide whether to start production on the back half of a show’s season and also how to structure their spring schedules.

NBC got off to a quick start this past week by eliminating “Lipstick Jungle” and “My Own Worst Enemy” effective immediately.

The NBC network has struggled since the Olympics, with “Heroes” falling weekly in the ratings and none of its critically successful comedy shows drawing huge audiences.

NBC has zero new hits and actually ordered a full season of the worst show on TV, “Knight Rider.”

ABC has elected to continue making “Private Practice,” as the show will move to the slot after “Grey’s Anatomy” starting in January.

The network has moved “Lost” to anchor Wednesday nights, leading to speculation on what will be done with critical darlings “Dirty Sexy Money” and “Pushing Daisies.”

“Dirty Sexy Money” has been nothing short of exceptional this year with a great murder plot, outstanding writing and colorful characters.

The only problem is ratings have dropped every week. “Pushing Daisies” is the most unique crime serial on TV but has failed to capture the type of audience that it drew prior to the strike.

It would be terrible for either show to get canceled, and it will be interesting to see what happens in the coming weeks.

The CW will continue making full seasons of both “90210” and “Gossip Girl,” two soapy teenage dramas with small yet loyal audiences.

Another teenage drama, “Privileged,” is considered by several critics to be one of the better new series of the season.

The show has received an order for more episodes but still has not received a full-season commitment.

FOX has ordered more episodes of its new moderate hit “Fringe,” the new J.J. Abrams series to air with its constant juggernaut “American Idol,” which returns in the spring.

It will be an interesting couple of months to follow and see how many new shows live on into the spring and what adjustments networks will make to their schedules in order to compete.