Revolving around Truvy's Beauty Parlor in a small parish in modern-day Louisiana, STEEL MAGNOLIAS is the story of a close-knit circle of friends whose lives come together there. As the ... See full summary »
Jane is a night club singer, out of work. Robin is a quirky real estate agent looking for a ride-share to accompany her to California. Her advertisement is answered by Jane, who at first ... See full summary »
Evelyn Couch is having trouble in her marriage, and no one seems to take her seriously. While in a nursing home visiting relatives, she meets Ninny Threadgoode, an outgoing old woman, who tells her the story of Idgie Threadgoode, a young woman in 1920's Alabama. Through Idgie's inspiring life, Evelyn learns to be more assertive and builds a lasting friendship of her own with Ninny. Written by
Consummate story-telling, served well by superlative performances
Fannie Flagg's novel of immense complexity (huge cast and innumerable separate stories) could have been impossible to film. However, it is made possible, in large part, by the performances of Mary Stuart Masterson and Mary Louise Parker in what should have been billed as the lead roles. They play the two southern women who's joint story this movie revolves around. Jessica Tandy's role is to relate the story to a lost and longing Kathy Bates (in modern times). Director Jon Avnet ties the two together nicely at times, awkwardly at times, but always (except the end) without doing damage to either. He (and the production crew) bring to life a 'peaceful' southern town very nicely.
The two Marys manage to convey the fullness of a complex relationship with apparent ease. There on-screen chemistry is nothing short of dazzling, and one is left wondering when and how these two actresses carved out such detailed characters without giving voice to their motivations and feelings. While it is rare that dialogue directly addresses the heart and nature of their relationship, what that is becomes clear quickly and transcends the plot of the story to become the real unifying element in this movie. That neither was recognized (in the conventional way) for their performances is unfortunate (which is an understatement).
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