Surviving Georgia

Surviving Georgia


Reviewed by: James Benefield

Although it's broader than the Great Victoria Desert, Surviving Georgia is a slight cut above the average relationship comedy drama.

Heidi (Pia Miranda) is, in the words of her sister, going out with one emotional cripple after another and her job at a factory is nothing to write home about. Her sister, Rose (Holly Valance) is living in a boarding house with her young son and is constantly scrounging money off Heidi. However, the news of the death of their mother, Georgia (Caroline O'Connor) acts as a welcome get-out clause for the mess of each of their lives – their mother's will stipulates that they move back to their home town for six months in order for them to inherit their mother's old shop. It goes without saying that all is not what it seems.

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Although possessing a defiantly Aussie sense of humour, the movie is best at is lighter, almost Desperate Housewives-style moments. The plinky-plonky plucked strings of the soundtrack is also a lot like what's been heard in Wysteria Lane, too. Likewise, the colourful characters inhabiting the sisters' new neighbourhood are equal parts grotesque and whimsical. When the film's romantic and more cathartic strands start to emerge half way through, it nestles into the perfect smug of the sentimental and jagged edges the film previously creates for itself.

But we're not in Mike Leigh territory here – the film does occasionally veer too close to the middle of the road for comfort. The catharsis is sometimes kept to a tasteful, melodramatic distance and the romance can be a little too dewy-eyed and glib. A bigger problem is that directors Sandra Sciberras and Kate Whitbread seem to forget this is a film rather than a TV movie. The crisp photography barely conceals some pretty flatly shot drama.

Thankfully, the well-judged, and marginally off-centre, performances of Miranda and Vallance do wrestle the sentimentality and melodrama off for most of it - until the final, rather gloopy half an hour. Surviving Georgia is a likeable, pleasant experience but nothing more.

Reviewed on: 08 May 2011
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The arrival of matching letters from their estranged mother Georgia turns the worlds of sisters Heidi and Rose upside down.
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Director: Sandra Sciberras, Kate Whitbread

Writer: Sandra Sciberras

Starring: Pia Miranda, Holly Valance, Shane Jacobson, Caroline O'Connor, Spencer McLaren, Toby Wallace, Katerina Kotsonis, Alyssa McClelland

Year: 2011

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: Australia


Australia 2011

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