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Sweet Home Alabama (2002)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  27 September 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 79,560 users   Metascore: 45/100
Reviews: 391 user | 97 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

A young woman with a Southern background runs away from her husband in Alabama and reinvents herself as a New York socialite.



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3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:


Melanie Carmichael, an up and rising fashion designer in New York, has gotten almost everything she wished for since she was little. She has a great career and the JFK-like fiancée of New York City. But when he proposes to her, she doesn't forget about her family back down South. More importantly, her husband back there, who refuses to divorce her ever since she sent divorce papers seven years ago. To set matters straight, she decides to go to the south quick and make him sign the papers. When things don't turn out the way she planned them, she realizes that what she had before in the south was far more perfect than the life she had in New York City. Written by kay

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Fall... in love. See more »


Comedy | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some language/sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 September 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Melanie's Getting Married  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$38,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$35,648,740 (USA) (27 September 2002)


$526,003 (Japan) (20 June 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Producer Stokely Chaffin was the one who developed the movie's concept and brought it to screenwriter C. Jay Cox to write. Chaffin, now the Senior Vice President of Productions at New Line Cinema, was raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and like Reese Witherspoon's character, she changed her name after she left the South (during her childhood, her friends and family called her by her first name, Caroline; Stokley is her middle name). Chaffin insisted that Cox visit Alabama before writing the screenplay. See more »


After Melanie visits the Carmichael estate, she is walking down the street in town with the sleeves of her dress pulled down past her shoulders, not up on her shoulders as they were in the previous shots. See more »


Mayor Kate Hennings: There is nothing wrong with poor people. I get elected by poor people.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits some photos are shown with the cast. In a sequence of them Melanie's parents are "scared" by a punk with a pierced tongue, Mel's co-worker from the beginning of the movie, who comments on her accent when she dreams. See more »


Referenced in After Lately: A-list BFF (2011) See more »


Bright Lights, Big City
Written by Jimmy Reed
Performed by Cornbread
See more »

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User Reviews

A great story of discovering ones self and realizing true love.
11 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Sweet Home Alabama" is about a young woman, Melanie Carmichael (Reese Witherspoon), who is learning who she is. She must choice between her new life in New York City and the one she left behind in Pigeon Creek, Alabama. The theme of the film is that you can't be two different people; you have to be who you are. You have to face your life and your past and not pretend that you are someone you're not.

The city versus country motif is brought to life throughout the entire film in such actions as a civil war re-enactment, shooting anvils across the plantation yard, and a diverse, yet, predictable group of characters residing in Melanie's hometown. This is far from her world in New York City where she is a fashion designer, engaged to the mayor's son, Andrew Hennings (Patrick Dempsey), and lives life in the fast lane.

The city versus country conflict begins when Melanie returns home to finalize her divorce from her lovable, redneck husband Jake Perry (Josh Lucas). The laughs continue when, much to Mayor Kate Hennings (Candice Bergen) dismay, Melanie and Andrew decide to have their wedding in Alabama. Mayor Hennings is a stiff, conservative ice queen. This makes the first meeting of the happy couples' parents, Mayor Hennings and Pearl and Earl Smooter (Mary Kay Place and Fred Ward), incredibly predictable, yet, still hilarious when you see it play out.

As she was in "Legally Blonde" and "Just Like Heaven", Witherspoon is sweet, smart, and sassy. She pulls you into the film, and you want to see her happy. She has great chemistry with both Jake and Andrew, which makes it difficult for viewers to decide which she should be with. Melanie, herself, can't decide who is for her until she decides who she is.

Director Andy Tennant masterfully uses music to contribute to the theme. With the use of songs such as "Sweet Home Alabama," "What This World Needs Is a Few More Rednecks," and "Marry Me," he transports you into the south. This music prompts you to root for the south and the southern girl who has just returned home. Tennant, also, impressively did not over use the song "Sweet Home Alabama." He used the song only in the situations were it would make the largest impact.

Tennant shows in "Sweet Home Alabama", as he did in "Ever After", that love just happens and we can't control love any more than we can control who we really are. In "Sweet Home Alabama", all of Melanie's problems seem to stem from the fact that she cannot face who she really is. Her father sum's up the theme of the movie in one statement, "You can't ride two horses with one ass, sugar bean."

16 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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