Academic Writing

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Georgia Rule

Rules were meant to be broken

Lindsay Lohan has an uncanny talent - she is able to single handedly sabotage any scene she is in and make a potentially decent movie intolerable. Furthermore, knowing that this was the movie from which came the letter from Morgan Creek criticizing Lohan's inappropriate and unprofessional behavior on set, I was even less impressed with her performance. It used to be that an actor's personal life might be able to enhance his or her careers - take Marlon Brando or James Dean. However, in today's media saturated culture a star's personal life takes away from his or her professional persona. With Lohan and the other starlets of today their images are splashed all over magazine covers, Internet blogs and entertainment TV shows so it seems unnecessary to pay to see them even more. Lohan's public behavior is so similar to that of her character, so spending 2 hours in a darkened theater watching even more of it seems superfluous and repetitive.

That being said...Georgia Rule tells the story of Rachel (Lohan) when she is essentially dumped at her Grandmother's house in Idaho for her last summer before college. Grandma Georgia (Jane Fonda) is a strict rule-keeper who imposes her schedule and regulations on everyone around her. Georgia's alcoholic daughter, Lily (Felicity Huffman) is at her wits end with her own daughter, Lohan, a rebellious teenager who can't follow any rules. Even though Lily can't stand her mother, and left home herself, she thinks it will be a good idea to send her daughter to the small Idahoan town for a summer of Grandma Boot Camp.

Rachel doesn't even make it all the way to Grandma's house before running into a load of trouble. Her mother kicks her out of the car with a few miles to go before arriving at their destination. She is picked up by Simon (Dermot Mulroney) and driven into town by the stranger. When he does not take her up on her advances she insults his intelligence and sexuality. A few scenes later we are (not) shocked to find out that he is in fact a respectable doctor (vet) in the community who is still mourning the loss of his son and wife in a car accident a few years earlier. Trying to earn sympathy points and to redeem herself Rachel tells Simon that she has been repeatedly raped by her stepfather since she was 12. The rest of the movie searches back and forth trying to, not only make Rachel seem sympathetic but also figure out whether the story she told was in fact true.

The movie set its sights high - with many different subplots - none of which really come to fruition. There's the Mormon teenager who Rachel insists on sexually corrupting, Simon who she attempts to seduce, her relationship with her stepfather, mother and grandmother are all tested and finally she has to deal with herself. That seems like a lot for one small movie, and it is. None of those issues ever seem to pan out and the viewer is left feeling unsatisfied and frustrated. What I think was ultimately supposed to be the point of the movie was that the mother/daughter bond is so strong that nothing can break it apart, but who knows - it wasn't marketed as a Mother's Day movie. I say skip this movie and if you are looking for a nice family oriented flick, go watch On Golden Pond again.

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