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Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  7 June 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 14,685 users   Metascore: 48/100
Reviews: 197 user | 93 critic | 35 from

After years of mother-daughter tension, Siddalee receives a scrapbook detailing the wild adventures of the "Ya-Yas", her mother's girlhood friends.



(novels), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:


Siddalee, a famous New York playwright, is quoted in Time magazine and infuriates her dramatic, Southern mother. A long-distant fight wages until her mother's friends (and members of the Yaya Sisterhood) kidnap Siddalee and take her "home" to the South, where they hope to explain her mother's history and to patch up the rift between mother and daughter. Written by kzmckeown

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Secret Is Out See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements, language, and brief sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 June 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Divinos secretos  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$16,167,412 (USA) (7 June 2002)


$199,958 (South Africa) (1 November 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina at the same time as A Walk to Remember (2002). See more »


When the cars pull up in the field to go on the airplane ride, the same children are seen getting out of the cars several times (specifically the blonde girl in the car behind Viviane's car). See more »


Younger Teensy Whitman: [referring to Jack going to war] He made swear not to till he told you.
Younger Vivi: Well you should've warned me. What did Genevieve say?
Younger Teensy Whitman: Oh, she cried and begged him to change his mind and Daddy called her unpatriotic. He gave a speech and made a toast. Mama swore she'd never drink to a son going to war.
Younger Teensy Whitman: So now Daddy's in the doghouse.
Younger Vivi: Amen.
Younger Caro: Ugh. There's not a single goddamn breeze in Lousiana.
Younger Necie Kelleher: Someone please wring me out?
Younger Vivi: We cannot just sit here and puddle. We have to make our own goddamn breeze.
See more »


References History of the World: Part I (1981) See more »


Ain't That Lovin' You Baby?
Written and Performed by Jimmy Reed
Courtesy of Vee-Jay Ltd. Partnership/Rhino Entertainment Co.
See more »

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User Reviews

Wise, Witty, and Wonderful!
31 October 2002 | by (Las Vegas, Nevada) – See all my reviews

After all the hype and comparisons to 'Steel Magnolias', 'Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood', sadly, did not do much box office, which was a shame, as it is a more intimate, realistic vision of women and life-long friendships than the glossier 'Magnolias'.

Four girl friends in Louisiana create a secret sisterhood in 1937, swearing eternal devotion to each other, and they remain best friends through all the triumphs and tragedies in their lives. When the daughter of one of them (Sandra Bullock), a successful playright, has an interview with Time magazine in which she condemns her mother's impact on her life, the mother (Ellen Burstyn, who is superb!) goes ballistic, cutting the daughter out of her life, totally. In charges the other members of the Sisterhood, kidnapping Bullock, and attempting to make things right!

The film then jumps back and forth in time, with Ashley Judd playing the younger Burstyn. She has a lot of happy adventures with her Ya-Ya sisters, but also has to deal with racism, a jealous religious zealot of a mother, an overly loving father (David Rasche, breaking free of his usual comic roles), a true love who dies in WWII, and a family with a guy she 'settles' for (played, in present day, by the wonderful James Garner). There is also a dark secret that is the core of the mother/daughter alienation, which must be dealt with in order for the rift between Bullock and Burstyn to heal (No, I will NOT give it away!)

If you do the math about the years covered, you realize the present-day story SHOULD be taking place in the seventies, at the latest, but this doesn't hurt the overall effectiveness of the picture. As the other present-day sisters, Fionnula Flanagan, Shirley Knight, and (especially) Maggie Smith are WONDERFUL, as is Angus MacFadyen, as Bullock's sympathetic and likable fiance.

While this is unabashedly a 'chick flick', something I really liked was that they DIDN'T fall back on that old chestnut of somebody dying to serve as a convenient catalyst for change and the healing process. And the dialog is full of wickedly hilarious one-liners about men, alcohol, friendship, and growing old!

Don't miss this gem!

36 of 48 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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