by Hank Yuloff
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The trailers for Georgia Rule make this look like a complete comedy where three generations of women in one family have a mutual coming of age and understanding. In other words—it is a chick flick from start to finish. Except for one detail, which I will get to shortly. As you get into the film, you find that there is alot more going on. And you should be prepared for it.
Jane Fonda (Monster in Law, Klute) is in the title role as Georgia, mother to Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives, Sports Night) and grandmother to Lindsey Lohan (A Prairie Home Companion), who plays Rachel. Georgia is a straightforward kind of woman, but the same kind of mother-daughter problems she had with Lily (Huffman) have percolated down one generation. Huffman plays a recovering alcoholic, and Lohan is a heavy-partying, underaged wild-child who hates her mother and uses her sexuality to get what she wants. In other words, she plays… well… herself.
Rachel has been banished to live in Idaho with Georgia for the summer before college because Lily has gotten to the end of her last nerve. She has run away to raves, concerts, and parties to the point where Lily overcomes her hatred for her own mother that she packs up the kid and dumps her in Idaho.
It is there that all of the other pieces to the puzzle get fit together and brings this film down to a very serious film with themes of alcoholism relapses, child abuse and a tangled web of lies. Actually, for much of the film, we are not sure which of the stories that we hear are true—Rachel’s version of what happened with her step father, or his logical denials.
The one detail I spoke of earlier, which makes this not a total chick flick, has to do with the wardrobe that Lohan brought from her closet at home. Okay, I don’t know that for sure, but most of what she wears seemed perfect for the character and the rehab hopping actress in real life. I spent quite a bit of time watching Lohan and anticipating one of her upcoming roles, where she plays a stripper. Holy Striptease, Batman—she’s going to take it off on film instead of just in the black-and-white pages at the back of Playboy.
Georgia Rule works with some rather intense material in the lightest a way possible. Kudos to director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, Beaches, Raising Helen) to handle it delicately
On a side note, if you or anyone you know has been abused, I would like to suggest you check out a website—www.yesICan.org. It is the home of the International Child Abuse Network. They have facilitated, anonymous chat rooms where survivors of abuse can take the first steps in finding help.
Hank Yuloff is a founding member and film reviewer living in Los Angeles.
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