First screened in February 1996 / Most recently screened in April 2015
Director: Ulu Grosbard. Cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mare Winningham, Ted Levine, Max Perlich, John Doe, Jason Carter, John C. Reilly, Jimmy Witherspoon, Rachel Rasco, Jamian Briar, Tom Bower, Smokey Hormel, Tony Marsico, Jimmy Z., Nicole Donahoo, Aisleagh Jackson, Colleen O'Hara. Screenplay: Barbara Turner.

Twitter Capsule: Everything works: incisive script, Washington milieu, musical performances. But four lead actors really carry it to glory.

VOR:   Personal affection impedes my objectivity. But despite appearance of familiar character-study, takes several chances with acting, music, editing.

Photo © 1995 Miramax Films
From my entry in the Favorites Countdown: "Georgia's key tool for dissecting and complicating the sisters and their relationships is its unerring gift for intensely focused realism, a deep familiarity with character and environment that one rarely sees outside of a Mike Leigh movie. Even at that, Grosbard's film exhibits a deeper, richer visual palette and a sophisticated approach to rhythm and concision that Leigh's films, for all their thespian virtuosity and rigorous scrutiny of behavior, took a while to achieve. Grosbard, a solid actor's director who hasn't made another movie to touch this one, shows pitch-perfect recognition of the kinds of wanderlusters, make-doers, drop-outs, long-distance runners, and swaggering, self-conscious 'legends' who scratch out their livings or carve out their niche in the nomadic world of music. He also uses the film's songs ingeniously to carry the scenes and guide their textures. Without making a movie that makes an issue of shattering any conventions, Grosbard nonetheless plays as though there are no rules, dilating the song performances for much longer than usual in a non-concert film, and often back-to-back, almost the way David Cronenberg used the sex scenes in Crash. The most famous scene, a litmus test for the lovers and haters of Georgia, is Sadie's flailing, compelling, erratic, embarrassingly sincere, nine-minute rendition of Van Morrison's 'Take Me Back,' in which context Georgia's turtle-dove harmonizing toward the end operates as an emergency intervention, a pinnacle of on-stage spontaneity, a stabilizing hug, and a breathtaking act of stern, undermining aggression..." Grade: A–

Academy Award Nominations:
Best Supporting Actress: Mare Winningham

Other Awards:
Independent Spirit Awards: Best Supporting Actress (Winningham)
New York Film Critics Circle: Best Actress (Leigh)

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