Friday, May 11, 2007

Georgia Rule

Many times you go into a film with certain expectations and are let down; however, once in awhile you get the reverse. I had little hope for Georgia Rule which I expected to be nothing more than your average chick flick. Imagine my shock when I found a surprisingly intelligent film with strong performances from all three of the its leading actresses.

Rachel (Linday Lohan) is driving everyone nuts. Unable to control her daughter, Lily (Felicity Huffman) ships her off to her grandmother, Georgia (Jane Fonda) in a small Iowa town, hoping some of the sternness, which rubbed her wrong in her own childhood, might work for Rachel.

Her arrival instantly effects the sleepy town and her rebellious nature chafes under the strict control of her grandmother, the animosity of the local girls (Christine Lakin, Chelse Swain, Mandy Medlin), the interest of a young Morman (Garrett Hedlund) and the fatherly advice of an old friend of her mother (Dermot Mulroney).

Forced into situations she can’t control, events and secrets begin to spill out of Rachel, but is the wild child known as a compulsive liar finally telling the truth, or is this all part of some game? Without giving away too many of the surprises of the film, I’ll say this: it’s a heavy discussion and look at some serious issues far beyond the simple look of the trailer. It’s got weight and substance and doesn’t flinch at looking as some very unseemly matters.

At the same time the film is also a celebration of life, family, and moving forward and gaining control fo your life. There’s also quite a bit of humor, both comical and sad throughout the film. No more is this present than with Huffman who balances the shock, humor, disappointment and anger of a woman who can’t control herself, much less her daughter.

Though the performances of Huffman and Fonda help sell the film, the story is centered around Lohan, and she makes good. Here she shows acting talent, range, and a fair comic touch (I know, I’m as surprised as anyone!). Maybe I won’t have to avoid her films if she finds parts like this that suit her and good directors, like Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries), to get this level of performance out of her. With this following her nice turn in last year’s Bobby she might just turn out to be a good actress after all.

Once the revelations begin, you will know where the film is heading, but the inclusion of several subplots and the question of Rachel’s truthfulness allow you to wonder and sit back and enjoy the ride. With strong performances and a compelling story it’s a real drama, in the the guise of a chick flick, that guys will be able to enjoy, and a nice spring surprise before the summer blockbusters start cramming all the theaters.

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