Guilty Pleasures: Steel Magnolias
The first time I saw Steel Magnolias, I suspect it was a video rental my mother had gotten, or maybe it was being broadcast on TV. So many of the themes were adult: chronic illness, marriage in crisis, death, tumultuous family relationships, and so on. But I LOVED this film. The women were sassy and funny and said everything with the same southern accent as my memaw. I can’t help but wonder if my particular fondness for women who say exactly what’s on their mind and don’t worry about rocking the boat is directly correlated to the number of times I’ve seen this movie and wanted to be friends with the characters.
Speaking of which…can you say all-star cast? A lot of times a movie with so many big names falters (see New Year’s Eve). There are too many big personalities and too much high-wattage shine on that screen. Not so with this movie. Shirley MacLaine is hilarious as the prickly, critical Ouiser Boudreaux; Olympia Dukakis plays her foil in Clairee Belcher as the high-energy, smiley southern belle who loves to gossip; Julia Roberts is Shelby Eatenton Latcherie, the headstrong young bride who clashes with her mother over everything; Sally Fields plays that mother in M’Lynn Eatenton, just as strong and stubborn, but full of love; in a surprising turn, Daryl Hannah is the mousy newcomer in town, trying to escape a bad husband and a hopeless past–Annelle Dupuy Desoto; and finally, a lady who is near and dear to our hearts here at full clutch–Dolly Parton herself, playing Truvy Jones, proprietor of the salon where all these women gather to talk, laugh, support each other, and grieve together.
Ouiser Boudreaux: This is it, I’ve found it, I’m in hell.
Truvy Jones: When it comes to pain and suffering, she’s right up there with Elizabeth Taylor.
OB: I’m not crazy, I’ve just been in a very bad mood for 40 years!
Clairee Belcher: The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.
TJ: I haven’t left the house without Lycra on these thighs since I was 14.
CB: You were brought up right.
Movies in general tend to be a guilty pleasure for me, mostly because I watch the same favorites over and over again. Such is the case with Steel Magnolias. I’ve seen it no less than 50 times. And I’ll keep watching it for its realistic depiction of female friendship, with all its drama, hilarity, and mostly, love. For those of you wanting to stroll down memory lane, the trailer follows. Or for those of you who–GASP–haven’t seen it. Watch it. Immediately.