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Georgia is a 1995 American independent film starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Mare Winningham. In the film, Leigh played Sadie Flood, a punky barroom singer who has a complicated, jealous but loving relationship with her older sister, Georgia, played by Winningham. Georgia is a successful, talented and well-adjusted folk music singer and a happily married mother of two. Sadie is passionate but self-destructive and untalented. While she seeks fame, she destroys herself through drug abuse. Although the movie focuses largely on Sadie, it was apparently titled Georgia because Sadie defines her own identity so much through her older sister. John Doe of the punk band X played a supporting role and performed as a member of Sadie's band. The music in the film consisted of 13 songs which were recorded live and performed by the actors ("a risk that has paid off spectacularly in terms of emotional intensity", according to Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan).
Georgia (Mare Winningham) is the older of two singing sisters, one of those talented ultra-folky types with a huge following and who sings songs with choruses like 'No more haaaaaard tiiiiiiimes.' Sadie (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is the pariah of the family (and is much more interesting)--a strung-out heroin addict with a voice more reminiscent of Johnny Rotten than Joan Baez and who has a penchant for hacking up cover songs. As Sadie puts it, 'I sing.' Well, sort of.
Sadie can't keep a steady gig (not even the local bowling alley), so she grudgingly turns to sister Georgia for help. As the perennial black sheep of the family, Sadie makes a mess of everything--from crashing her sister's performances to impulsively marrying her sole groupie (Max Perlich)--and finally ends up in a much-needed detox center.
While Georgia starts strong, hinting at what could have been a cathartic showdown between the two sisters, the film whimpers off into lifeless boredom after about half an hour. The melodramatics here are shameful, not because they're over-emotional, but because they're just dull. In fact, during the big sob story confessionals and soliloquies the sisters repeatedly engage in, I just quit listening.
Pieces of the movie are fun and/or funny, and, while I'm probably disturbed in thinking this, when Sadie spoils Georgia's shows, it's a lot better than watching another boring old folk singer croon. Sadie's big finish is an 8 1/2-minute (note to director: bad idea) rendition of Van Morrison's 'Take Me Back' in front of 2000 listeners. This is supposed to show us the bared and tortured soul of Sadie, but instead it reveals merely that those movie theater seats are damn uncomfortable.
So unless you're just dying to hear Velvet Underground tunes played (badly) at bar mitzvahs, I'd recommend keeping this Georgia off your mind.
How Georgia made me feel.