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Georgia Rule: Not In Georgia, Doesn't Rule

Georgia Rule: Not In Georgia, Doesn't Rule

In Georgia Rule, Lilly (Felicity Huffman) has her hands full with her smart and troubled teen Rachel (Lindsay Lohan). Lilly hopes that a few summer weeks in Idaho with her grandmother, the rule-loving Georgia (Jane Fonda), will straighten Rachel out before she goes off to college. But alas, things don’t start off well. In the opening scene, Rachel walks alongside her mother’s fancy car after a fight screaming “Get out of my life!” Only later do we find out that a dark secret fuels her bad-girl antics.

It’s hard not to think about this scene in retrospect and wish that not only Lohan but the entire talented cast of Georgia Rule had been able to bolt from this shallow movie. It has a split personality: the dark script goes in one direction while the tone of the film, under the direction of Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, A League of Their Own), goes in another. As a result, its excellent cast is adrift in a film that doesn’t know if it wants to be a comedy or a drama. Although Georgia Rule attempts to blend the two, it ends up exploiting — rather than exploring — its heroine’s demons. To find out what I mean,

We find out very quickly that mother/daughter strife is multi-generational. Lilly is so uncomfortable being with her mother that she leaves right away, saying she has plans with friends. When Rachel shows up and hears this obvious lie, she deadpans, “She stopped drinking, smoking and hating herself, too.” Sounds like a laugh riot so far, no? Rachel quickly tests her strict grandmother, whose set of rules the film’s name references. “Do not take the Lord’s name in vain,” goes a typical refrain. “Georgia Rule.” Rachel’s response? “Don’t tell me what to do. Rachel Rule.” And what, primarily, does Rachel want to do? Seduce men.

The first man who catches Rachel’s eye is a handsome Mormon teen named Harlan (Garrett Hedlund) who first spots Rachel dozing on the side of the road. (Her relationship with him is one of the film's lame subplots.) Shortly after he gives her a ride into town, she hops into another stranger’s car, belonging to the town’s resident hunky vet and widower, Simon (Dermot Mulroney), who, it turns out, once dated her mother. He, too, resists her big city “forward” ways, ignoring her cleavage and leg-flashing. (She’s supposed to be from California, “the land of fruits and nuts.”)

Here’s where Georgia Rule gets into big trouble. Like those around her, the film doesn’t know how to handle Rachel sexually acting out. When it’s revealed that perhaps she’s been sexually abused by her stepfather, the sensitive viewer will be troubled by how Rachel’s shockingly self-destructive sexuality has been played for laughs and how the camera has been lingering lasciviously over her scantily-clad body for the entire film.

It’s the acting, primarily from Huffman and Lohan, that made Georgia Rule bearable for me. Huffman’s performance as a weak woman trying to deal with her daughter’s demons when she hasn’t even conquered her own is heart-rending. And no matter how you feel about Lindsay Lohan’s off-screen antics, she lights up the screen with her manic energy, humor and aggression. Nevertheless, in spite of its feel-good ending, Georgia Rule doesn’t have much affection for its female characters. They remain misunderstood until the very end.


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Jinx Jinx 8 years
I wasn't all excited about this movie, but I wanted to watch it. I enjoyed it, I thought the twists and turns, and the way LL's character moved around the other characters interesting. Good point about the white outfits, very interesting.
mynameismandab mynameismandab 8 years
I didn't want to see this movie in the theatre because of the bad press LiLo received during its shooting. I was sure it would be something frivolous and uninteresting. BUT-- when I saw the movie at last, not only did I Not think it was stupid, I thought it was extremely adept at presenting the dysfunctional family dynamic of sexual abuse-- victims aren't always sad and depressed (although that is one consequence),sometimes they Do make light of their situation, and many times they use their experiences to their advantage: Women like Lohan's character learn their sexual behavior yields bargaining power. So it came as no surprise that Lohan's character might use her promiscuity (quite humorously) to threaten the townie girls and negotiate with her stepfather. The alcoholic mother answers the question of how could one's own mother possibly not believe someone who has been abused. I loved the comment that the doctor made about how the abuse took away her capacity to have a nonsexual relationship with a man. I wonder if anyone else noticed that Lohan was clothed primarily in white for the majority of the film,with the exception of only 2 scenes-- the one in which she goes to negotiate with her stepfather and the one where she attempts to seduce Simon the doctor. It seems to me that the message in this is that despite who she is or what she's done in the past, she is still very much an innocent and naive. As the family member of a sexual abuse survivor, Lohan's performance hit so close to home I wondered if her own exploits were not somehow indicative of earlier such abuse.
tundrababe tundrababe 9 years
I had low expectations for this one, I went to see it with my mom, who wanted to go. I knew nothing about Lohan other than what I see in the "news". I really enjoyed the movie though! I thought it was funny, and I don't agree that it was exploitative. I actually thought it handled the topic of sexual abuse with honesty. Lohan did a great job acting (or, being herself?). It's a good "chick flick".
mominator mominator 9 years
I can't stand Lohan but I still might watch it when it comes out on dvd. It seems like it going to be a show that should come on an after school special.
katygirlthing katygirlthing 9 years
im still iffy on lindsay lohan. she once could act, but now is partying all night, losing it. shame, she could have done really well. and also, all she does is this troubled teen role, stop it!!
walkguitarchick walkguitarchick 9 years
I really liked this movie!!! it deserves at least 3 stars.........if not more. Lindsay Lohan is amazing!
krys786 krys786 9 years
Felicity and Jane made the movie great, Lindsay brought it down.
duddee duddee 9 years
this was a great movie and i loved i. people just dont like it because it is lindsay lohan in it, but it was a great movie. just go watch it and you may have different oppinions from me.
flipperofdeath91 flipperofdeath91 9 years
I saw the movie sunday, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but I had very low standards to begin with.
jess55 jess55 9 years
I saw this movie today,im kinda on the fence about it.its not the worst,i love jane fonda think she is a powerhouse but the script kind of trails off now and again.I think lindsey does a good job and her wardrobe is lovely in it.All in all its ok.
raenbow raenbow 9 years
The previews for this movie were completely misleading, and I feel this review was being a bit generous. I would've left the theatre if it wouldn't have been rude for the people I was with. As far as sexual abuse victims and a comment above, I wouldn't say this is a way a lot of people deal with it, and I wouldn't say that victims are all people sitting around crying or whatever... I think both are very rough stereotypes. And the whole movie basically was saying her behavior was okay because of what happened to her. It's really a terrible movie. Maybe it would've been better if all the previews actually related to the actual plot. Talk about false advertising.
sexyeyes sexyeyes 9 years
I knew this movie would suck!
careyjr3 careyjr3 9 years
I disagree.......I went yesterday with my Mom to see this movie, and we loved it. I think the women in that movie are great actresses. I also was not uncomfortable watching it. All in all, I loved it.
andaman andaman 9 years
I will see this movie for myself cause i want to see what went wrong exactly. I love hoffman so we'll see
krEnElk krEnElk 9 years
I could not agree with Molly's review more. I went to see this movie with a friend last night and we kept looking at each other going "whaaaaaaaaaaaat?!" It made both of us very uncomfortable. Perhaps if I had been expecting a more serious film I wouldn't have been so shocked/disappointed. The commercials make it look like a relatively lighthearted family dramedy . . . not at all what it was. Overall I was VERY disappointed.
Iwillmarryunick Iwillmarryunick 9 years
I went and saw the movie today. And while I have to agree with Molly on being uncomfortable, I want Lilo's wardrobe! So good. As for the movie, there's a fine line between a romantic comedy (which it easily could have been) and making it into Rachel being a slight whore with a heart of gold. This movie totally crossed the line and while Felicity Huffman is a great acress, the hair that she had just kept reminding me of that movie that she did, I believe that it was called "Transexual" or something. Her hair really distracted from her great features to the point that I was fixated on the bad hair rather than her character. I don't rec the movie, other than seeing the awesome wardrobe that Lilo's character had, but then again, hopefully Fab will do a search and find out what all those great outfits were.
redsilkshoes redsilkshoes 9 years
I have no desire to see this. NONE whatsoever.
lindsaybriggs lindsaybriggs 9 years
I saw the movie last night and I very much disagree with this review. Sure it wasn't a serious "Oscar contender" movie (too bad Linds!) but it was actually very good and true to life for many people. As someone who works with teens, I can say first hand that childhood sexual abuse can play out very much like it did in the film. Teens often use their sexuality in humorous and very inappropriate ways that make people uncomfortable. I think the film portrayed one teen's struggle very well. Not all teens will act like this, but a lot will. I thought it was frank and something that people should see. Not all victims are timid and weeping all the time, especially now. Girls get messages about sexuality from the media all the time and when that's added to a history of abuse it sometimes plays out very dramatically. I think everyone did a great job acting, and I really can't even stand Lindsay Lohan personally!
Molly Molly 9 years
I really wanted to like this movie (and I really like cheesy bad movies a lot of the time), but Georgia Rule made me flat out uncomfortable. It's a sensitive line to walk mixing light-hearted banter (and little boy boner jokes) with a young woman who may or may not be dealing with a history of sexual abuse. And that's just the beginning of my issues with the film. I don't know, I found myself with this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach from about ten minutes into the movie and I couldn't shake it until I was far away from the theater. Uncomfortable isn't always bad, but uncomfortable without being provocative is just bad. Aaaaaaan, for whoever cared, my two cents. That being said, couldn't someone in wardrobe splurged on a bra for Linds? Even one? Just a though.
lilsis lilsis 9 years
I saw the movie and I think they all did an excellent job! I think people should see the movie before they decide they don't like it! Maybe people should realize that not everything you read is true, or that maybe your opinion is different than what you read. I thought that it was a great movie.....but that's just my opinion!
ddene5713 ddene5713 9 years
haha thanks for that julibul. :)
julibul julibul 9 years
"why is lindsays belly button so high on her torso?" She has man hips (none) so her waist seems to go on forever.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Poor Linds, After seeing the girls private areas over and over and over in the press, tv, and on blogs I Knew she had crossed over into that fuzzy grey area that all potentially good "actresses" go to when they party too much, show too much, and dont use thier noggin. Who knows if she can act, Mean girls doesnt make her good it makes her a fluke. Everything else she has been in has been mediocre to terrible. Freaky Friday, The parent Trap, Confessions of a teenage drama queen,Herbie fully loaded, Prairie home companion, Just my Luck, Bobby True she was a disney darling, but disney isnt exactly home to Talent City if you know what i mean. THe only way she will come out on top is to ditch her mom, her sister, her cigarettes, alcohol, bad posture, and agent.
figurine figurine 9 years
Good review, BuzzSugar. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I will as soon as I get the chance. I always enjoy watching Lindsay and Felicity.
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