VENICE Anne Hathaway's dark role in "Rachel Getting Married," which premiered this week in Venice, is generating early Oscar buzz, with several critics hailing her departure from fairytale and comic characters.
In the family drama directed by Jonathan Demme, Hathaway plays Kym, a recovering drug addict who checks out of a rehabilitation center to attend her sister's wedding.
Her acerbic one-liners and need for attention serve as the catalysts for long-simmering family tensions to come to the boil, forcing her to confront her sense of guilt over the death of her little brother.
"An award-worthy Anne Hathaway gives the story a clear central focus," wrote the Hollywood Reporter, while rival trade publication Variety called her "fragile, angry, superb."
Hathaway, best known for her girl-next-door performances in "The Princess Diaries" and "The Devil Wears Prada," told Reuters on Thursday it was too early to think about awards.
"It's the beginning of September and if I started being concerned about buzz now I would never make it through Christmas," Hathaway said in an interview.
"I could not be happier with this film, whatever happens to it. If it sinks at the box office, if it doesn't ever win an award, it's so successful in my mind," the 25-year-old added.
Hathaway has said Kym was the most complex role she had taken on so far.
Critics also praised Debra Winger's brief but intense performance in the film as the dysfunctional family's aloof mother. Screen Daily said three-time Oscar nominee Winger had made the small supporting role memorable.
"'Rachel Getting Married' will undoubtedly be up for awards consideration in the major categories," it wrote.
Most critics said the movie helped lift a weaker-than-usual lineup at the Venice film festival this year, and Hathaway's appearance on the red carpet gave the festival a welcome touch of Hollywood glamour.
Demme's previous films include 1991 thriller "The Silence of the Lambs," which won five Oscars, and 1993 AIDS drama "Philadelphia."