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From Toronto Film Fest: Hathaway shows brilliance

Margot's brilliant little sister. That's who Anne Hathaway as Kym could be. Noah Baumbach's "Margot at the Wedding" may have been one of the more roundly detested films of the past few years (people were so blinded by its characters' self-absorption that they couldn't see how exquisitely the film told us about them), but Nicole Kidman, as Margot, may have just found a little sister in movies that people will love.

Kym is played brilliantly by Hathaway in Jonathan Demme's "Rachel Getting Married." And thereby hangs not just one tale but a few.

Kym is a junkie briefly let out of rehab to go to her sister Rachel's wedding at their wealthy father's house in Connecticut. And while frosty Margot's presence messed up her sister's wedding quite royally, Kym's presence puts her family into wild-dysfunction mode and opens up every wound in every family member's psyche to bleed copiously.

Do not -- under penalty of soul death -- call this a "chick flick." And thereby hang some of those tales I've been telling you about. Try these:

1. It is, absolutely, Anne Hathaway's arrival as a major American film actress. She's stunning in the film. And, wouldn't you know it, so bad is her luck that at what should be the apex of her young acting life, her ex-boyfriend was busted by the Feds, thereby stealing a great life story right out of her resume and plunking her smack into tabloid hell.

2. It is, just as importantly, among the finest films directed by Jonathan Demme in a distinguished career. He's been one of the great American filmmakers for more than three decades ("The Silence of the Lambs," "Melvin and Howard") and a man who never does the same thing twice. But he lost his way badly in the last 15 years, making the Oprah-tific but dreadful adaptation of Toni Morrison's "Beloved" and two of the most wrong-headed movies of the past few years: remakes, get this, of "Charade" and "The Manchurian Candidate," two of the most stylish and inimitable masterpieces in American movies.

The Toronto Film Festival press screening was packed for "Rachel Getting Married," and well it should have been. Demme gives the whole thing a kind of raw, improvised hand-held camera feel that makes it all the more devastating when it wants to be -- and joyful and intimate when that's what it wants to be.

You'll be hearing a lot about this movie before it opens in October.

So get used to it now.

Just don't call it a "chick flick," no matter how much women are certain to love it. It's a "human being" movie. And they really are the best kind, if you ask me.

--Jeff Simon



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