Georgia

This was the most popular American movie at Cannes in 1995; the vagaries of deal making caused delays in its domestic opening. Very much an actor's vehicle—written for Jennifer Jason Leigh by her mother, Barbara Turner, and directed with panache and sensitivity by Ulu Grosbard, who's best known as a stage director—it focuses on the untalented, highly dysfunctional sister of a successful folk-rock singer (Mare Winningham) based in Seattle as she follows her sister on the road and pitifully tries to carve out a life and career of her own. Leigh does remarkable things with her part, moving well beyond the sort of academicism that has limited her other recent work; she builds the character from moment to moment as well from scene to scene, climaxing in a protracted onstage number, filmed with a mainly unsuspecting live audience. Quirky and nuanced, this movie has a lot to say about sibling rivalry and the current music scene. With Ted Levine, Max Perlich, John Doe, John C. Reilly, and a welcome bit by blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon.

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