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Mary Stuart Masterson,
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
This movie might easily pass you by. It's quirky, long-winded title suggests something arty or perhaps comical in a needlessly pretentious way. Well; it is arty, and it is often funny, but there isn't a particle of pretentiousness. I got to see it only because my newspaper included it as a free DVD in the weekend issue. But for that, I might still be in ignorance now.
It seems incredible that something so wonderful can be had for nothing.
Kathy Bates plays the role of a mature but still comparatively young woman who has a marriage going nowhere. Her husband has reached the point where he just doesn't seem to care any more. Actually, it's not that he doesn't care; he just hasn't noticed how bad things have got. Like so many couples, they have just let themselves slip into a rut.
However; she has noticed, and means to do something about it. When hints, make-overs and candlelit dinners prove inadequate, she finds unexpected inspiration in a feisty old woman called Ninny Threadgoode.
This woman - played by Jessica Tandy - dilates upon her past, and in particular, a friendship between two young women called Idgie and Ruth (Mary Stuart Masterson and Mary Louise Parker). The movie then shifts between the present-day circumstances of an increasingly emancipated wife, and the flashback reminiscences of her inspiration.
Some have rather misguidedly referred to this movie as a 'chick-flick' as if it were dedicated to a female audience or in some way espoused the cause of feminism. Such opinions do a disservice. To see it in this light, because the principal parts are female, is like dismissing 'The Shawshank Redemption' as a male 'buddy' movie. Both are about two people who's enduring friendship unites them against adversity. Lesbian love is barely hinted at.
Director, Jon Aunet has created a spellbinding work. It has a wonderful, lyrical fidelity, like a Renoir painting, whereby the few moments of comedy appear as small, flagrant brush-strokes in an otherwise pastel completeness. There are moments of heartbreaking and tender subtlety when Thomas Newman's music score expresses human feeling more fluently than the spoken word.
Sound-engineers seldom receive the recognition they deserve. All too easily we take the ambiance of the moment completely for granted. Viewers should pay particular attention to the authenticity of this movie, and marvel. The dreary interior of an unhappy home or the mildness of a sunlit summer-evening carry such authentic presence that one can almost feel the chill of anger, the sweetness of the season.
Some have found fault with this movie somewhere. I confess to being too lachrymose to see anything other than the director's intentions. Excellent script, flawless acting, impeccably chosen music and ambiance to reach out and touch.
This is a truly redeeming experience. Amongst the spoil-heaps of formulaic Hollywood wretchedness, gems like this help remind us that humanity is still worth caring about.
The detail of life is what really gives us meaning.
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