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Steel Magnolias (Special Edition) (1989)

A 1989 comedy-drama about the bond among a group of Southern women in northwest Louisiana.

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Indomitable Charm

  • Aug 12, 2003
Rating:
+5
There is a scene in Sleepless in Seattle when Sam (Tom Hanks), Suzy (Rita Wilson), and Greg (Victor Garber) are discussing what are frequently referred to as "chick flicks." Whatever the criteria for selection, there are many candidates for this category which usually include Steel Magnolias. After seeing it again recently, I decided that calling it a "chick flick" demeans what director Herbert Ross and his cast and crew achieved. This film really does have wide and deep appeal to both and men and women of all ages. Of greater significance, it seems even better each time it is seen again. The reverse is true of almost all other films which touch our hearts. As in Robert Harling's play on which it is based, all of the main characters are women: Clairee Belcher (Olympia Dukakis), M'Lynn Eatenton (Sally Field), Truvy Jones (Dolly Parton), Annelle Depuy Desoto (Daryl Hannah), Ouiser Boudreaux (Shirley MacLaine), and Shelby Eatenton Latcherie (Julia Roberts). MacLaine and Roberts were later nominated for an Academy Award as best actress in a supporting role; a split vote probably cost both an Oscar. My own opinion is that Field, Dukakis, and Hannah were equally deserving of that nomination. In terms of plot, not a great deal happens. The film's energy is established and then sustained by the interactions between and among the five older women. Keep in mind that this was originally a play whose plot focused almost entirely on the shared experiences of those women. Some of the scenes are hilarious, with MacLaine and Dukakis primarily responsible. However, the film also includes one extended situation which has a genuinely sad conclusion. (It would be a disservice to those who have not as yet seen the film to say any more about that.) I think the acting is first-rate throughout. Most of this film is highly entertaining but whenever necessary and appropriate, Ross examines serious issues with great skill. Two points need to be reiterated: Steel Magnolias can and will appeal to men as well as to women, and, it is more enjoyable each time it is seen again. Those who share my high regard for it are urged to check out Fried Green Tomatoes (1991).

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More Steel Magnolias reviews
review by . December 19, 2008
In small-town Louisiana, a group of friends and family are making preparations for a very special day. Shelby (Julia Roberts, 'Mystic Pizza') and her mother, M'Lynn (Sally Field), take a trip to the local beauty parlour to allay Shelby's pre-wedding nerves. Run by their companion Truvy (Dolly Parton), who has just recruited the shy, nervous Annelle (Daryl Hannah) as an assistant, the parlour becomes a place for the women to trade tips of advice on life, love, and hairstyles, with the constantly …
review by . September 02, 2001
Unfortunately, many people have placed Steel Magnolias in the chick-flick category, even my most favorite critic. But as a matter of honest opinion, to place it in such a small subject field is an insult to the film. As Fried Green Tomatoes did in the latter years, Steel Magnolias show's how strong relationships can be. To know how important it is to remain steadfast with your friend's, so they are there when you need them. Through humor, this film version of the play displays the caring qualities …
review by . June 21, 2000
Everything I needed to learn in life, I learned from Steel Magnolias!Where else can you learn that the only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize? Or that being gentlemanly is to take the dishes out of the sink 'for ya pee in it?This movie has provided countless hours of entertainment, and probably the most one-liners of any feature film ever released. That it is coming out on DVD with *9* deleted scenes (Marshall and Jackson together at last? Weeza hookin' up with …
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Robert Morris ()
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Wiki

Steel Magnolias is a 1989 comedy-drama film about the bond among a group of Southern women in northwest Louisiana. The movie is based on a 1987 off-Broadway play by Robert Harling and on the author's experience with the death of his sister.

The film was released by Tri-Star Pictures in the United States on November 15, 1989, and would go on to gross more than US$83.7 million at the box office. Robert Harling adapted his own play, which was heavily rewritten to incorporate many more characters. It was his first produced screenplay, and he also appears in the film as the preacher. The film was directed by Herbert Ross.

The film starred Dolly Parton (Truvy Jones), Olympia Dukakis (Clairee Belcher), Shirley MacLaine (Ouiser Boudreaux), Sally Field (M'Lynn Eatenton), Julia Roberts (Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie) and Daryl Hannah (Annelle Dupuy-Desoto). Julia Roberts received her first Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actress. The location for the filming was Natchitoches, Louisiana. Historian Robert DeBlieux, a former mayor of Natchitoches, was the local advisor on the film.

The casting and sets of the film go far beyond the modest means of the original play to include male characters, ensembles, and outdoor scenes. The sequence of the action as well was more tightly linked with major holidays in the film than in the play. Much dialog was added, and several lines in the play were cut or assigned to other characters than originally intended. In addition, Truvy is given...

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Details

Director: Herbert Ross
Genre: Drama
Screen Writer: Robert Harling
DVD Release Date: July 25, 2000
Runtime: 117 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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