Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 20
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

HAVING A HEART TO HEART TALK: Rachel, (Lindsey Lohan, foreground left) finds that her stern, but sympathetic and loving grandmother Georgia (Jane Fonda) can understand Rachel's problems and is wise enough to suggest helpful solutions to her problems.

Georgia Rule: Out of Control Girl Goes to Grandma's House for Rehab

Kam Williams

Despite graduating from high school a semester early, Rachel (Lindsay Lohan) has been headed down a self-destructive path paved with alcohol, drugs, and indiscriminate promiscuity. Needless to say, her behavior has been driving her mother, Lilly (Felicity Huffman), crazy; and when Rachel totals a car and doesn't even feel guilty about the destruction she caused, Lilly decides it's time for a change.

The exasperated mother decides that what might be best for her wayward daughter, who's due to attend Vassar in September, is a complete change of scenery for the summer. Lilly decides to send Rachel to her grandmother Georgia's (Jane Fonda) house in Hull, Idaho, a quiet Mormon town where there would presumably be fewer opportunities to get into trouble than at home in San Francisco. Since Georgia is a disciplinarian who doesn't put up with any nonsense, the hope is that Rachel's behavior will improve while in Georgia's care.

After Rachel and Lilly have a heated argument on the way to Hull, Lilly abandons her on the side of the highway. Rachel falls asleep under a "Welcome to Idaho" billboard, only to be awakened when Harlan's (Garrett Hedlund) hands are inappropriately touching her.

He explains that he was trying to determine whether she was dead or alive. Since he's headed to Hull, she hitches a ride in his pickup and he obligingly drops her off at her grandmother's house, but it's clear that this won't be the last they'll get see each other.

Grandmother Georgia starts reading the riot act to Rachel right off the bat: explaining the house rules, such as "You live here, you work, don't take the Lord's name in vain, no drinking in the house, no fighting, we eat at six sharp, …" etc. Not surprisingly, the two butt heads, much to the consternation of Georgia.

Rachel takes a job as a receptionist for Simon (Dermot Mulroney), a grieving veterinarian who lost his wife and son in a car accident a few years ago. Gradually, Rachel seems to adapt to Hull's pace, except for her promiscuity. Rachel has relations not only with Simon and Harlan, but also with the boyfriends of any of the local girls who call her a tramp or just look at her cross-eyed.

As Rachel matures under the guidance of Georgia, the question arises as to whether there is a plausible explanation for her acting out or if she's simply a bad seed. The only hint from Rachel is a causual off the cuff suggestion that she's been molested by her stepfather, Arnold (Cary Elwes), since she was twelve-years-old.

If true, this revelation might help Georgia and Lilly better understand Rachel, and even allow for revenge before the end of the movie.

Very good (3 stars). Rated R for profanity, mature themes, drug references, and teen sexuality. Running time: 113 minutes. Studio: Universal Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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