DVD Surviving Georgia

DVD Surviving Georgia
DVD Surviving Georgia

Run time: 90 min
Rating: 5.3
Genres: Romance
Director: Sandra Sciberras, Kate Whitbread
Writers: Sandra Sciberras
Stars: Pia Miranda, Holly Valance, Shane Jacobson
Surviving Georgia is a heart warming Romantic Comedy about family and finding your own identity in the world. About realising that sometimes to move forward, we have to let go of the past. Heidi and Rose must find love but in doing so must first reconcile with their feisty, vivacious and slightly alcoholic mother! Written by Anonymous
Country: Australia
Release Date: 29 May 2011 (Australia)


  1. I saw at a Q&A with some of the cast, the two people that directed the film and the producer. The mediator made a point that, although marketed as a romantic comedy, it's not really funny. The writer said that she thought it was funny. I think she's delusional.

    Questions focused on the plot holes, which the writer struggled to answer. They didn't even seem to care. "It's a cute little film", one of them said. Their apathy to this film is clearly demonstrated with this melodramatic, uneven, terribly acted and awfully scripted feature length episode of Neighbours, that sends the Australian film industry back decades.

    The fact that you can see the end coming a mile away doesn't matter, because the plot is so uneven and structured so frantically that it's easier to give up completely on the narrative (inexplicable walk-out by a mother from her two daughters, told in a quick 5 minute opening, the lack of explanation covered up as "deliberately ambiguous" by the writer) and focus on the acting and the dialogue. "You gotta be bloody kiddin' me?" – Holly Vallance couldn't act on Neighbours and she hasn't improved at all since then. Pia Miranda is OK, but the script keeps telling her to interrupt character's when they're talking ("I need you to just let me just read this, OK?") and say lines like "the hole in my heart has been fixed".

    The trailer for Surviving Georgia is like a microcosm of the film itself. It's scattered all over the place. A sappy melodramatic score, then quirky fun music. In one scene, Holly Valance is hiding under a table in a scene that attempts at humour, but then the next scene completely changes pace, and aims to be a sad, emotional one. Then there was a bizarre suicide attempt?!

    The audio sounded dubbed – when the camera is inside a room, looking out a window at character's talking outside, it's OK to make the audio a bit muffled because that's what it would sound like. It doesn't have to sound like the camera is outside with them! Things like that remind you that you're watching a movie.

    Outside on a balcony, Holly Vallance and Pia Miranda are talking, and upstairs, the little kid kind of acts like he's having fun outside, or that he's gonna jump or, I don't know, it's not clear – and Holly goes, "we're not birds!". A few of us kind of looked around and thought – wtf? Is it sloppy writing, or are the writer's just effing with us and seeing who will notice the anomalous dialogue?

    I'll mention the cinematography is pretty amazing, and I thought to myself that the guy filming this must hate that he was surrounded by such talentless hacks.

    People are really struggling for funding from Film Victoria and the other Aussie film funding bodies, and the fact that they gave money to this travesty is infuriating – real, creative, thought-provoking and ENTERTAINING films are forced to sit in the minds of up and coming, struggling filmmakers, and the real trash like this gets put on the big screen, it's a very sad time for the Australian film industry.

  2. There have been some crowd pleasing and commercially successful local films this year, notably Red Dog, The Eye Of The Storm and The Cup, that have largely disproved the popular notion that we make dour, downbeat and uncomfortably bleak drama that no-one wants to see. So it is disappointing that the latest Australian film to hit cinemas is not that good frankly. Surviving Georgia had all the elements to be another crowd pleasing feel good romcom, but it falls flat. Unfortunately this is a disappointingly bland film that is let down by several continuity goofs, some corny dialogue, unlikely characters, and a woefully underdeveloped script. Heidi (Pia Miranda) and Rose (former pop star Holly Valance) are sisters that were abandoned by their erratic, self-absorbed and sexually adventurous mother Georgia (Caroline O'Connor) when they were still in their teens. The lives of both sisters have been somewhat messy, lacking direction, which they blame entirely on their absent mother. Rose has had to raise her 12-year-old son Albie (Toby Wallace, from Lucky Country, etc) virtually alone. Heidi is still single and going out with "one emotional cripple after another." But then the pair is visited by the family lawyer. He informs them that Georgia has died, and left them a small milk bar in their hometown. The girls are expected to fix the place up, run it for six months and then they can sell it. Reluctantly the two return to the town where they grew up, a place that is filed with often unhappy memories. Heidi quickly warms to the rustic charms of the place, while Rose bitterly resents the time she is forced to stay. And Albie finds it hard to fit into his new school and the slow pace of life. Heidi has to re-evaluate her relationship with the mother she despises before she can move forward with her life, and Rose has to soften her hard exterior. And there is one further complication, when it seems that dear old mum may not be dead after all! There are a number of subplots running through the busy screenplay from Sandra Scibberas (the offbeat Caterpillar Wish, etc), which dish up a number of complications and red herrings that add little to the central drama. There are so many incidents here that one could be forgiven for thinking that the film is a faithful adaptation of a novel. The tone is uneven, and there is some clunky direction from Scibberas and co-director Kate Whitbread, an actress making her feature film-directing debut here. They handle the material in a somewhat perfunctory manner, and there is little visual flair here. The film is shot almost like a television movie, and dishes up the sort of material that is par for an episode of Neighbours and its ilk. The film was shot on location in Warburton, in Victoria's northeast, and but the cinematography from Jon Webb is rather bland and fails to make the most of the picturesque setting. There are some nice performances though, although one wishes the characters had been better developed and more credible. In arguably her best role since her breakthrough, AFI award winning performance in Looking For Alibrandi, Miranda gives a solid performance. Shane Jacobson brings his usual larrikin humour and genial charm to his role as Johnnie, the local constable, who is attracted to Rose, even though she resists his advances. And young Wallace has a cheeky presence. Valance, who recently appeared in the awful comedy Big Mamma's Boy, struggles to give her character much depth, and audiences will not empathise with her. O'Connor chews the scenery with her few scenes. But ultimately Surviving Georgia is an underwhelming, inoffensive, flawed and messy blend of melodrama and romantic comedy that could have been stronger and more entertaining if the producers had refined the script.

  3. I saw a screening of Surviving Georgia recently and even though the film is yet to be released and as the directors announced on the night 'was still in post production' I was surprised and totally impressed by this new Australian feature film. This film knows it's market place. The female audiences will love it but I think so will the men. Shane Jacobson and the Spencer McLaren character are so well written and performed, men will really enjoy them.

    The ensemble cast of Shane Jacobson playing a mountain cop who falls for Holly Valance was brilliantly written by Sandra Sciberras who had previously written and directed The Caterpillar Wish. Quite different but equally as warm when it comes to ensemble, romantic writing. The Pia Miranda storyline with her over bearing mother Georgia played exceptionally well by Caroline O'Conner had great spirit. Comedy and Heart…you can't go wrong.

    Look beyond the pink and you can clearly see Sciberras and Co-Director Kate Whitbread knew exactly what they were doing when they embarked on making this film. If you don't, then this genre is simply not for you. There is a lot of heart and a lot of comedy. It's very funny and very moving in parts. This is a great script, a great bunch of Aussie actors, a beautiful setting and sensitive direction.

  4. what its about: two sisters whose mum walked out on them 12 years ago, return to their home town, after hearing the news of her death. in order to fulfill her last wishes, which involve living in the small town for 6 months, they also have to sort out the milk bar left to them. the girls soon discover they have been the victims of a scam when their mums death turns out to be a fake. the girls battle between finding true love and sorting out their feelings when re-united with their eccentric mother.

    what i liked? the cinematography was what impressed me the most with many of the shots being very clean in style and well thought out. i did have a few giggles throughout and it was an easy film to watch. it's probably geared more towards a female or more mature audience who appreciate lighthearted film over cgi imagery and big budget films. Pia Miranda (known for 'looking for alibrandi') is very cute and suited to her quiet yet gutsy role of Heidi. Shane Jacobson's (also in 'kenny') character Johnnie is perhaps the most enjoyable in the film. he plays his role well and produces many of the giggles in the film due to comedic style which he does so naturally. holly valance's (who plays 'rose' in the film) acting style is a little up and down but when she commits to the emotional scenes, her performances are very believable. there is one scene in particular that she holds good focus against her fellow actors (caroline o'Connor & Pia Miranda) which shows she can produce a solid performance despite her previous 'neighbours' stint that seems to pigeon hole not only herself but many other good Aussie actors who have come from similar backgrounds. the music to this scene also ties in well. my favorite scene however involves the sisters, rose and Heidi, roses' son Albie (a cute young Toby Wallace) and their mother Georgia. it's a short scene where Georgia tries to sneak a peak on her girls and grandson and it lightens the mood by producing a small giggle. oh and i should also make note that the costume designer did a lovely job especially with Georgia's choice of clothing bringing back a very funky 50's style to the screen.

    what i didn't like? i found the colours of the film, although bright and lovely, to be too extreme. it looked as though the films saturation levels were overdone which in turn made Johnnie the cop's face look overly flushed, so flushed in fact, i was worried he may drop to the ground suffering a heart attack at any moment. the lighting didn't seem to be adjusted in a scene or two to match other scenes, perhaps they shot early in the morning or late in the afternoon and were struggling against the light. there were some unanswered questions with the mum, Georgia's character, who's reason for being the way she is was never explained. and some of the scenes didn't flow evenly into others, leaving further unanswered questions. at times the acting did fall below par but there were some stronger scenes that perhaps lifted it enough to pass by and be quite enjoyable. Spencer mclaren's role of 'james', Heidi's love interest, came across too stalker like and stiff in style and was perhaps the least enjoyable character but his cute looks may make others oversee that.

    how did the movie make me feel? i came out of the cinema with a smile. given, this film is not in everyone's taste, but very few films appeal to a wide audience. there were a few niggly things that could have been improved upon but overall it's a nice Aussie movie to watch on a Sunday afternoon without all the swearing, lewd sex scenes and drug use that we've all become so accustomed to in cinema these days.

    kiwi or Aussie connection? Aussie, Aussie, Aussie… filmed on location in Victoria with an all Aussie cast

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