Review: ‘Georgia’

An intense study of sibling rivalry set in the Seattle music world, Georgia excels at the expression of painfully unresolvable family conflicts. Performed to maximum effect by a host of top-flight actors, Ulu Grosbard's strong character study is knit together by a tense subtext that underlies even the calmest moments.

An intense study of sibling rivalry set in the Seattle music world, Georgia excels at the expression of painfully unresolvable family conflicts. Performed to maximum effect by a host of top-flight actors, Ulu Grosbard’s strong character study is knit together by a tense subtext that underlies even the calmest moments.

Co-produced by star Jennifer Jason Leigh and her mother, Barbara Turner (who wrote the script for her daughter), and originally developed with Robert Altman as director, drama takes a pointed look at the inevitable strains in the relationship between sisters when one is a very together, happy and successful singer and the younger one is far less talented, emotionally immature and dependent on drugs and booze.

Leigh plays a rock ‘n’ roll urchin named Sadie, a punkette who returns home to Seattle after a stint with a blues singer (Jimmy Witherspoon). Sadie camps out briefly at the idyllic country farmhouse of her sister, Georgia (Mare Winningmam), a beloved folk-rock icon for whom popular acclaim is secondary to her husband (Ted Levine) and her kids.

Always a disruptive presence at her sister’s home, Sadie is somewhat reluctantly taken on as a singer in the working band of ex-b.f. Bobby (John Doe) and shortly has the good fortune to meet an unconditionally adoring fan, delivery boy Axel (Max Perlich), who installs himself as Sadie’s valet, maid, lover and one-man support team.

The film undisputably belongs to Leigh and Winningham. Leigh’s emotional investment in Sadie obviously is considerable, but she also spares her nothing, laying bare a lost soul. On the surface, Winningham has less to do histrionically, but her characterization emerges just as fully.

Georgia

France - US

Production

CiBy 2000. Director Ulu Grosbard; Producer Ulu Grosbard, Barbara Turner, Jennifer Jason Leigh; Screenplay Barbara Turner; Camera Jan Kiesser; Editor Elizabeth Kling; Music Steven Soles (prod.); Art Director Lester Cohen

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1995. Running time: 117 MIN.

With

Jennifer Jason Leigh Mare Winningham Ted Levine Max Perlich John Doe John C. Reilly
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