Georgia Rule was a complete surprise - a good one. The trailers I saw advertising this movie present it as a relationship comedy. Well, it most certainly is very funny in parts. But don’t be deceived by the trailers. The marketing for this film is completely wrong. Georgia Rule deals with very serious subject matter.
The story opens with Lilly (Felicity Huffman) and her daughter, Rachel (Lindsay Lohan) on the road and things are not happy. These two obviously don’t get on. Lilly is dropping Rachel off at her grandmother, Georgia’s (Jane Fonda) home in a small town in Idaho. This family clearly has big issues simmering under the surface and during Rachel’s stay in the town, they start to unravel with major consequences.
Georgia Rule is most definitely not a comedy. There is comedy; there is romance. But there is more drama than any of those. Jane Fonda’s Georgia is excellent. Her whole face and body communicate what is going on inside her as she observes her daughter and granddaughter stagger in a downhill spiral as revelations emerge that threaten already fragile relationships - including her own with her daughter. Felicity Huffman superbly portrays a woman fighting her own inner demons as she deals with her daughter’s challenging approach to life and relationships.
But the real surprise of this cast is Lindsay Lohan. She is brilliant as Rachel and delivers her troubled teenager role with great power and sensitivity. Put aside all those "nice" images of Lindsay Lohan. Here she shows that she can really act.
The story is excellent with consistent surprises that left me wondering how it was all going to end. The soundtrack is very good and unobtrusive.
If reading this gives you the impression that I am trying to avoid identifying the central subject matter then you are right. The story needs to unfold and surprise - something that happens in reality in relation to this material. Georgia Rule is difficult to watch at times, confronting and pulling no punches. Garry Marshall, known for lighter fare, has delivered a deep, hard-hitting drama about the emotional pain and suffering that is surely experienced by many.
My Rating: **** (out of 5)
Surprisingly (for me) Georgia Rule has received mostly negative reviews. Here is one of the more favorable (Warning: Plot Spoilers if you read the whole review):
’Hector Elizondo, who has appeared in all 15 of Marshall’s features, turns up as a Basque rancher and adds a bit of sparkle. I just wish Marshall’s good luck charm was not a 70-year-old actor but a fresh, honest screenplay.’ - Lawrence Toppman/Charlotte Observer
’Certain words should be reserved for special occasions. "Abysmal" is one of them, and Georgia Rule is as special as such occasions get.’ - Joe Morgenstern/Wall Street Journal
Sexual content and some language