Starring: Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah, Tom Skerritt, Dylan McDermott, Sam Shepard
Directed By: Herbert Ross
Written By: Robert Harling
Rating: PG (US) Running Time: 1 hr 57 min
I have never really cared for the term ‘Chick flick’ to describe a movie. A term that would likely be applied to a film like Steel Magnolias. Buy why? Because its lead characters are all women? Because people are getting married, babies are born, and families are dealing with loss? Newsflash folks, that’s life and both genders have to deal with it. The term ‘Chick flick’ implies the subject and execution of a film will only appeal to women, and even worse, put men on the defensive if they happen to relate to it too.
Steel Magnolias starts with Annelle Dupuy Desoto (Daryl Hannah), walking into town for a job interview and hopefully, start a new chapter in her life. The story then introduces us to a glorious set of friends, and invites us to follow their trials and tribulations for little over a year. During that time, life in this small parish in Louisiana is like any other. People get married, relationships start and struggle, and one family has to deal with tragedy. Is this real life? No it’s movie ‘reel’ life. It’s our story, but with cooler dialog and tidier resolutions to life’s problems. If you’re not able to buy into that fantasy and enjoy this journey, then don’t buy the ticket.
I’ve personally never found the story all that important with this film. Because I think we could have checked in with these folks at any time, and found something funny and/or moving to watch. What really makes Steel Magnolias special however, are its leading ladies and Robert Harling’s script, based on his own play. This is a movie loaded with characters you’ll enjoy spending nearly two hours with, and if it hooks you, man or woman, you’ll find yourself tearing up one moment, and then laughing out loud the next.
This is a lighthearted look at the lives of six Louisianan women, but mainly focuses on the mother daughter story played by Sally Field and Julia Roberts. It’s unapologetically sentimental, but if you’re a fan of any of these actors, this is worth a watch. Shirley MacLaine is an absolute riot in this!
This film will be serviced well enough with a regular DVD or streaming show on your TV, laptop, tablet or phone.
Best Moment: << Spoiler! I’m serious! >>
Following the funeral of Shelby (Julia Roberts), her mother M’Lynn (Sally Field) gets angry and starts to cry. She then declares she just wants to hit someone until they feel as bad as she does. At that point her friend Clairee (Olympia Dukakis), grabs the cantankerous Ouiser Boudreaux (Shirley MacLaine) and says:
“Here! Hit this! Go ahead M’Lynn, slap her!”
One second I’m tearing up at Sally Field’s touching performance, the next I’m cracking up at Shirley MacLaine’s reaction. It’s absolutely the best moment in the film.
“Are you *high*, Clairee?”