Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
A complex, deeply knowledgeable story about a truly lost soul and her downward spiral.
"Georgia" is a movie about Sadie, but it is no mistake that it's named after her sister. Sadie is one of those emotional black holes that occupy the center of many families, a victim who sucks all love and concern down into the oblivion at her center. As Georgia observes wearily near the end of the film: "Sadie's pain must be fed. And we're all here to serve." We first see Sadie (Jennifer Jason Leigh) working as a motel maid and sneaking drinks from the pint bottle hidden under her towels. She leaves town with a blues singer named Trucker (played by real-life jazz-blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon), whose multiple personalities make him a little hard to please. Sadie flees and turns up at a folk concert in Seattle, which stars her sister, Georgia (Mare Winningham). Georgia is a little like Joan Baez in her country period - serene, together, with a pure voice.
You can tell these sisters have a long history, and it has always been the same story: Georgia as the perfect one, married, with two kids, not only a singing star, but also a good cook and a port in the storm. And needy Sadie, with her lank hair, her raccoon eye makeup and her tattoos, desperately circling her, admiring her, loving her too much, and then spinning away out of control into booze and drugs.
It is tempting to say Jennifer Jason Leigh often plays characters like Sadie, but that would be too easy. Sadie is a particular case, the kind of alcoholic or addict who expects her friends and family to give and give. She is never comforted; she's an open psychic wound who toys with them by pretending to be "better" and then by going out and using or drinking again, as the whole spiral starts over.