A realistic, sometimes harrowing drama, Georgia is about the relationship between two siblings: the elder sister Georgia Flood (Mare Winningham) has found success in both her professional and personal life. A folk singer in the mold of Judy Collins, she is happily married with children. Her younger sister Sadie (Jennifer Jason Leigh), is an addict with a gravely voice and a hectic personal life, still playing dive bars and bar mitzvah’s whenever she can.  She even persuades her ex-boyfriend Bobby (John Doe) to let her rejoin his still struggling band. Lacking Georgia’s talent, she remains hopeful, optimistically telling her sister, “I’ll make it soon.”

Through it all, Sadie never resents Georgia’s success. She attends her sister’s concerts, applauding vigorously after each number, going as far as to identify Georgia as the “only one who matters” to her. But Sadie’s all-consuming passion scares Georgia. In an alcoholic haze from morning until night, Sadie often finds herself in need of Georgia’s support. While Georgia is emotionally restricted, Sadie is passionate. Polar opposites, the two women are both drawn to and repelled by each other.

Jennifer Jason Leigh, whose career has included roles in such diverse films as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Rush, Single White Female, The Hudsucker Proxy, and Mrs. Parker, infuses Sadie with a raw realism that is hard to watch at times, given her obvious lack of  musical talent. Mare Winningham, who has a beautiful voice, gives a quieter, yet no less effective performance. When Sadie asks to borrow money, her face turns weary even as she agrees to make it a loan. One she knows, like the times before, Sadie will never pay back.

Written by Leigh’s mother Barbara Turner, the script does a great job of tracing the complicated relationship between sisters with authenticity. There’s a real sense of sadness when things aren’t wrapped up nicely. Director Ulu Grosbard, whose career included working with Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro and Robert Duvall, does a fine job here, though Turner’s script and the performances of Leigh and Winningham are the highpoint here.

Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.81:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and given a 1080p transfer, Georgia arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Via Vision Entertainment. Despite obvious limitations, the flattering lighting during performances is pleasing. Clarity is excellent throughout and details are strong, emphasizing the differences between the sisters looks and personalities. Shadow detail is nicely delineated. There are no major instances of scratches, dirt or debris. (Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray release. Consequently, you will be able to play it on your player regardless of your geographical location).

The English LPCM 2.0. audio track provides solid balance throughout.  While not particularly dynamic, audio is clean, clear and concise throughout.

English SDH subtitles are available.

The following extras are included:

  • Audio Commentary by Bryan Reesman and Max Evry: Film historians Reesman and Evry offer an informative discussion about the film. They touch on various topics, from the films production to the close relationship between Leigh and Winningham.
  • The Flipside of the Static (HD, 44:22) In this exclusive new piece, critic Bryan Reesman interviews John Doe, the founder of the punk rock band X, who has a centralpart in Georgia. Mr. Doe reveals that his work Georgia was the highlight of his acting career. He discusses working with director Ulu Grosbard, his admiration of Jennifer Jason Leigh, the critical reception of the film and some key themes critics missed and more.
  • Archival Interview with Jennifer Jason Leigh (HD, 5:23) Leigh discusses how difficult the role of “Sadie” was. By the time filming wrapped, she was emaciated and weighed 89 pounds.
  • Archival Interview with Mare Winningham (HD, 4:18) Winningham discusses her lifelong love of singing. She says the live recording of the music was crucial to the success of the film.
  • Archival Interview with John Doe (HD, 4:24) Doe prefers acting to singing. While acting is harder, it can be done longer.
  • Archival Interview with Barbara Turner (HD, 4:21) Turner discusses working with her daughter on the film.
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:34)