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Film Released: 2006
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Directed by: Wayne Wang
Cast/Actors: Queen Latifah, LL Cool J and Timothy Hutton
Georgia Byrd played by Queen Latifah, is
an employee in the cookware department at Kragen's Department Store in
New Orleans. She is an unassuming woman who keeps her head down and
lives a quiet little life, having never even left Louisiana, doesn’t
rock the boat but records all her dreams in a diary called
“possibilities” including her wish to own her own restaurant serving
One Christmas, whilst flirting with a co-worker Sean Williams played by
LL Cool J, she bumps her head on a cabinet door and is taken to the
store's health centre for a CAT scan. The Company doctor, Dr. Gupta
played by Ranjit Chowdhry, tells her she has several brain tumours
caused by Lampington's Disease, a rare neurological disorder.
Unfortunately, her insurance won't cover the high costs of an operation,
and she is told she has only a few weeks to live.
She decides to go out with a bang, quits her job, cashes her savings,
buys an entire designer wardrobe, travels to Europe and checks to the
plush Grandhotel Pupp Hotel, where the world famous Chef Didier played
by Gérard Depardieu presides. She books into the Presidential Suite, and
on her first night orders all the specials on the menu, having been told
they are for one night only. Chef Didier is impressed and wants to
meet this woman who obviously has a passion for good food. He and the
waiting staff fuss over Georgia which brings her to the attention of
some of the hotel's influential American guests: a retail magnate,
Matthew Kragen played Timothy Hutton who coincidentally owns the store
where Georgia used to work; his assistant/mistress Ms. Burns played by
Alicia Witt; Senator Dillings played by Giancarlo Esposito who happens
to be from her home state of Louisiana; and prominent Congressman,
Stewart played by Michael Nouri, all of whom now want to know who
Georgia is, where she comes from and what she does.
Free of inhibitions, Georgia mixes easily with them using her charm and
graciousness whilst, at the same time, being completely honest and
telling them what she thinks about some of their behaviour. Her general
kindness and down to earth manner impresses not only the hotel's staff,
with the exception of guest services manager Miss Gunther, but also the
Americans with the exception of Kragen who is skeptical about Georgia's
origins and suspects her of trying to sabotage his business.
Kragen bribes Miss Gunther to find information about Georgia's
background. Whilst snooping in her possessions, she finds a letter
Georgia has written giving instructions for her funeral. Miss Gunther is
moved by the letter and confesses to Georgia what she has been up to.
She advices Georgia to go home and spend her last days with people she
loves. Georgia takes the advice and heads for home only to find an
avalanche has blocked the road to the airport.
Meanwhile, Sean has learned of her diagnosis which makes him realise he
has feelings for her. He decides to go to Europe to find her and is in a
taxi on the other side of the avalanche trying to get to her hotel.
At the same time, back in the US, Dr. Gupta has realised there is a
fault with the scanning equipment which meant his diagnosis was
incorrect. He sends a fax to Georgia which gets temporarily mislaid,
during which time, Sean and Georgia manage to meet and admit their
feelings for each other.
In the end, the fax is found, Georgia and Sean return to New Orleans,
get married and open a restaurant.
Food is heavily featured in parts of the film, and the recipe we’ve
chosen is one of the “specials” which was served to Georgia on her first
night at the hotel.