Although the performance of Jennifer Jason Leigh as a barroom singer has won the sort of critical raves that fuel studio campaigns for an Oscar nomination, TIME's Richard Corliss begs to differ: "To praise Leigh in this small, frail film is to mistake big acting for good acting, and shriek for soul." A daring, often endearing actress, Leigh virtually patented the role of neurotic little-girl-lost in such cable-ready classics as "Sister, Sister" and "Miami Blues". Lately, though, strenuous mannerism has clotted her work: bizarre accents in "The Hudsucker Proxy" and "Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle", and, here, a surrender to the excesses of actressy masochism. As Sadie, Corliss notes, Leigh leaves no emotional scab unpicked. "It's a role for which her voice, carriage and technique are ill suited; she's too small for these grandiloquent gestures. Georgia's big set piece is an eight-minute (or possibly eight-hour) Joplinesque song in which Leigh screams, whines and pleads "Take me back" while falling to pieces onstage. It's a startling, exhausting spectacle, and, like the rest of Leigh's performance, very, very bad."