Only When I Laugh (1981) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A boozy Broadway actress comes out of a 12-week cure to face the problems of her best friends as well as her needy daughter. She tries to balance the terrors of returning to work with the demands of all around her with humor and insight, while staying off the booze.

  • Thirty-eight year old Georgia Hines, a divorced Broadway actress, has just been released from rehab for alcohol abuse after a three month stint. Despite not particularly liking the taste of alcohol, she used it as a means to deal with her professional and personal insecurities. She is uncertain if she can handle life on the outside, but she will receive the support of her two best friends, the perfectly beautiful Toby Landau, and struggling gay actor Jimmy Perrino. Two of the many potential issues in Georgia's life that may derail her recovery are if she ever reconnects with David Lowe, an unsuccessful playwright who was her last boyfriend and who walked out of their relationship without a word, and how she will eventually revive her acting career. Despite those and the many other potential issues, Georgia's now seventeen year old daughter, Polly, is able to negotiate with both her parents to live with Georgia in this, her senior year at high school, before she heads off to college the following year. Polly loves her mother despite Georgia largely not having been there for Polly for much of her life. But as Toby and Jimmy deal with their own many insecurities, and as Polly negotiates her way through what is the difficult period of most female's lives of transitioning into womanhood, Georgia may have to be the one providing support to her family and friends, and her family and friends may not be able to be there for her if she does fall off the wagon.



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