(warning - movie spoiler) Jane Fonda is the grandma, Georgia, who lives in a small, predominantly Morman town. Felicity Huffman is the mother, Lilly and Lindsay Lohan plays daughter, Rachel. Rachel graduated highschool early and is set to go to college in the fall. However, she has been doing drugs and acting out for years - lying too about her drug use and other things. When Rachel wrecks her car, it is the last straw. Lilly drags Rachel back to her hometown and dumps Rachel on Grandma.
Lilly and Georgia had a falling out after Lilly's father (Georgia's husband) died. Rachel has only ever seen Grandma one time in her life. Since Lilly can't handle Rachel, she dumps Rachel on Grandma for the summer. Rachel, stuck in an extremely small Idaho town for the summer, immediately tests the boundaries. Grandma is a bit strict with her "Georgia Rule(s)" and Rachel rebels. Rachel flirts with everyone, including a local Morman boy and her "old enough to be her father, used to date her mother" boss. Very flirtatious and very promiscuous.
In a heated moment, Rachel blurts out to her employer (friend/surrogate dad) that her step-father started sleeping with her at age 12. Then when this person tells Grandma and Grandma confronts Lilly, everything hits the fan. Lilly confronts StepDad who naturally denies everything. Then Lilly drives from California back to Georgia's house to confront Rachel. Lilly is sure that Rachel is lying. But Georgia believes Rachel. Torn between the two versions of the truth, Lilly reverts to her old coping mechanism of drinking. Seeing this and wanting to protect her mother, Rachel recants - sort of. She yells at her Mom, something along the lines of "Yes Mom it was a lie, a like when he stuck his tongue down my throat and a lie when he slept with me." It's obvious to the viewer that Rachel is not lying. But wanting to believe the "safer" version, Lilly accepts the recantation. Later Rachel reveals that it started when she was 12, stopped briefly when she was 14 and a boy friend threatened to kill him. Then resumed when StepDad told her she'd have to "earn" her car. Turns out Rachel's latest car wreck is an attempt to revoke that "bondage" that came along with the car.
Rachel has always protected Mom and knows Mom signed a prenup and will end up on the streets if there is a divorce. StepDad has also threatened Rachel. And Rachel knows her recent actions (drug use and lying) don't make her the most believable.
Lilly goes back and forth with believing her daughter, Rachel and believing her husband. Georgia never waivers in her belief of Rachel's initial report. Rachel tries to seduce the young Morman boy and he gives in. She yells something about "wanting him to say no." Then Rachel turns her sights on her father figure/employer. He does say No. She says to him, "Thank you for saying 'No'." And in that moment you realize that Rachel just wanted to be valued for more than her sex appeal.
In the end, Rachel confronts StepDad. She tells him that if he is good to her Mom, that Rachel won't tell. Rachel sticks by her recantation and Mom drives off with StepDad. On the drive, StepDad sticks his foot in his mouth and in a pivotal moment, Lilly abandons him for her daughter.
Overall the movie was pretty good. In a way I'm glad Hollywood is addressing these issues. They did a halfway decent job. I knew what the movie would be about. But others in the theater did not. I watched some of the older couples in the theaters. At first they were shocked at Rachel's actions and promiscuity and then I could see their expressions change as they realized WHY she was acting that way. Maybe, just maybe, people will start to understand.
Some of the movie was hard to watch. My Sister was right. It really did depict our family. Down to the fact that the abuse started at age 12 and was by a step-father. Also the words that were spoken. When there is the confrontation between Rachel and Lilly, Rachel tries to express her hurt by detailing what happened. Lilly retaliates by basically accusing Rachel of "stealing her man." Boy did that ring true in my life. I remember (hazily) a conversation where my mother told me she felt as if I were the "other woman."
Then there was the scene at the end when StepDad is yelling, "She wanted it. She seduced me." Those are the words Toilet told me and my mother as well. Only those words didn't trigger the same reaction in my Mom as they did in Lilly. Because in the end, Lilly stands by her daughter.
The movie trailers portray it as a story about how "family ties don't break." Well, they do sometimes. I am a living example.
(I really hope Lindsay Lohan's latest escapades in the press won't detract from the serious message in the film)
For another blogger's perspective on the movie - see Thinking Girl's post.