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
The twenty year friendship between two young women in the early twentieth century American South is the focus of this 1991 film from director Jon Avnet. Told in flashbacks, the story adopts a modern POV, with social empowerment being the theme. As such, the story is both unusual and unexpected, given its historical time frame. Viewers will be disappointed if they expect a more traditional Southern story ... about some dark, sinister secret emotionally repressed, and set among the lazy willows and old Magnolia trees.
Empowerment can be a wonderful thing. But, if it is taken to extremes, as it is in two subplots, one involving Frank Bennett, and the other involving Evelyn Couch, then it can be a cause for concern. And that's my main problem with this film. The subplots tend to lack credibility, although they do not detract from the overall character study of Idgie and Ruth.
What was most impressive to me was the film's atmospheric "flavor". Production design, set decoration, and costumes all sparkle with such vitality and detail, that you really feel like you're back in the rural South of the 1920's.
Most modern films pander to youth. To its everlasting credit, "Fried Green Tomatoes" features the wisdom of an elderly character, played by Jessica Tandy, in a nursing home. An added bonus of the film is Kathy Bates, whose acting is always first-rate.
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