I was not terribly enamored with the movie Rachel Getting Married, but there is a scene of note that I would like to share. After the wedding rehearsal dinner, Rachel's father, Paul, and his soon to be son-in-law, Sidney, engage in a strange competition. Evidently, Paul prides himself in his ability to load the dishwasher. To strategically pack it so that hundreds of dishes and forks and glasses get cleaned perfectly. This is a strange thing to be proud of, yet there are stranger things in which we take pride. For example, I make Chex Mix. Correction, I make excellent Chex Mix. I take pride in it. I think mine tastes the best. It's absurd yes, but it's part of me. As part of Sidney's entry into the family, he challenges Paul to a dishwasher load off - I suppose that's what one would call it. In the kitchen of Rachel's parents and in front of the wedding party, the two are timed and judged on their ability to successfully load the dishwasher.
As I watched this, I dismissed it. It was absurd and a bit strange in the sequence of the story. And yet. And yet. I can't stop thinking about it. Why is that? There was so much weight in this movie, and yet it's the dishwasher loading competition scene that sticks with me? Does it stay with me because it was just plain bad filmmaking? Or has it stayed with me because it was brave filmmaking? Was it a brilliant risk that the writer, Jenny Lumet, and director, Jonathan Demme, took knowing that it could go either way? I ask the question, yet I know the answer. It is in the smallest parts that we truly discover humanity. In the most insignificant places. And if you catch those - bravo.
When people speak of "risky" filmmaking, it is usually in context of the entire film. Seldomly is it used to describe a single scene. And while I can't applaud the whole film, I can certainly say that this is one extraordinary scene. Maybe that's an absurd statement, but hey, I'm human.