Steel Magnolias (1989) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A young beautician, newly arrived in a small Louisiana town, finds work at the local salon, where a small group of women share a close bond of friendship, and welcome her into the fold.

  • Pivoting around the lively Truvy Jones' Louisiana beauty parlour, a tightly-knit band of friends, confront griefs, loss, life's unforeseen tragedies and heartaches with what they do best: gossiping and sharing. The spirited diabetic and bride-to-be, Shelby; her always supportive mother, M'Lynn; Truvy's gawky assistant, Annelle; the city's curmudgeon, Ouiser; and the town's former first lady, Clairee, are the warm Southern belles who know how to survive life's challenges with their unwavering friendship. But when Shelby decides to conceive, things will turn upside down..

  • Revolving around Truvy's Beauty Parlor in a small parish in modern-day Louisiana, this is the story of a close-knit circle of friends whose lives come together there. As the movie opens, we find Drum Eatenton shooting birds in the trees of his back yard in preparation for his daughter's wedding reception that afternoon. Shortly thereafter, M'Lynn and Shelby (Drum's wife and daughter) depart for Truvy's to get their hair done for the wedding. "Just the sweetest thing", Annelle Depuy Desoto (who may or may not be married because her marriage may not be legal) is introduced to Truvy's customers as her new "glamor technician". While in the chairs, the sour-tempered Ouiser Boudreaux shows up and entertains the assemblage with her barbs. It seems that the only one of the group who truly understands Ouiser is Clairee, who is recently widowed and looking for a diversion. As she says later in the movie, "If you can't find anything good to say about anybody, come sit by me." Filled with humor and heartbreak, these "Steel Magnolias" make us laugh and cry as the realities of their lives in tiny Chiquapin Parish unfolds.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Synopsis by: poltergeist225 This heart wrenching drama is about a beauty shop, in Louisana owned by Truvy, and the tragedies of all of her clients.

    Shelby is a diabetic and getting married to a rich southern hunk of a lawyer. Her mother M'Lynn is bossy, but caring.

    M'Lynn's friends include a cast of colourful and dynamic southern women of a multitude of ages and veiws.

    Shelby falls pregnant, much to her mother's disapproval. A pregnancy could be fatal for someone of Shelby's condition.But claims she'd rather have thirty minutes of wonderful, than a lifetime of nothing special.

    Will Shelby live through this pregnancy and watch her baby grow up? Or die young and leave her mother asking why she couldn't go first.

    Through the views of these different women we see love, apathy, pain, loss, secrecy and a desperate attempt at living a life of happiness.Dreams built and burnt, the power of hope, the love between a mother and her child and the bond that can be so unbreakable between true friends.

    Their strengths will be sorely tried, their wit often stretched thin and their hearts broken. With the changing of seasons and the falling of the Steel Magnolias's


    Synopsis by miranda8625: Steel Magnolias opens to a spring day in modern Louisiana and follows a young woman walking down a residential street. The woman soon walks into a home-based salon owned by Truvy Jones (Dolly Parton). We discover that the young woman is a recent beauty school graduate, Annelle Dupuy Desoto (Daryl Hannah), who has come to answer Truvy's request to the college for a new employee.

    Annelle is hired immediately because this day happens to be the wedding day of Truvy's good friend, M'Lynn Eatenton's (Sally Field) daughter, Shelby Eatenton Latcherie (Julia Roberts). Shelby is a young diabetic facing a marriage that may not result in children due to her illness, and M'Lynn is Shelby's worried and protective, but loving mother.

    As Shelby's nuptials draw near and the salon fills with gossiping people preparing for the big event, Annelle meets not only M'Lynn and Shelby but also the other "magnolias" surrounding Truvy's salon. Truvy's other friends include Ouiser Boudreaux (Shirley MacLaine), a grouchy, two-time widow, who always looks on the negative side of life and Clairee Belcher (Olympia Dukakis), a cheerful widow, who enjoys taking cracks at Ouiser whenever possible.

    The women gossip throughout the year as holidays and other gatherings come and go. As time passes, Annelle goes through a divorce, a stage of rebellion, and eventually finds love in a man as well as the Bible.

    At Christmas, Shelby announces to everyone that she is pregnant. Shelby is thrilled, but her mother, M'Lynn, is worried that Shelby's body can't handle the stress of pregnancy.

    Time skips about a year and a half and picks up with everyone celebrating the first birthday of Shelby's son, Jack Jr. A shadow is soon brought upon the cast as Shelby discovers that her kidneys are beginning to fail as a result of her pregnancy. At this time, M'Lynn offers to donate a kidney to her daughter.

    As everyone waits to see if the surgery is successful for Shelby, the "magnolias" show through laughter and tears that sometimes flowers are expected to carry weight that may only be supported by pure steel.

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