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Steel Magnolias (DVD)

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Genre: Romance / Theatrical Release: 1989 / Parental Guidance / Director: Herbert Ross / Actors: Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah ... / DVD released 2001-01-29 at Universal Pictures Video / Features of the DVD: PAL

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    5 Reviews
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      27.10.2009 18:08
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      excellent movie, very touching

      My love of this story started about 8 years ago when i was part of a crew that staged it. being a guy there was no part for me onstage so i was responsible for the stage decor. I did get the film about two weeks after rehearsal started and dusted it off the other night.

      Now, I am a sucker for a sad story and if you are then get a copy of this. Based on the stage play of the same name it centres around six woman and their time spent at the local beauty shop run by Dolly Parton who is on fine form. she has just hired Daryl Hannah as an assistant in time for Julia Robert's wedding. Sally Fields plays Julia's mum and Olympia Dukakis and Shirley MacLaine are two other close friends.

      The film focuses on the women but unlike the stage show allows interaction with the men that would normally be seen ofstage.

      Set in a typically Southern town the film moves from Easter with the wedding to Christmas to Halloween and back again to Easter. Each backdrop showing the town and it's closeness.

      During the film we learn about life and loves of the characters and the things that matter most. For Ouiser, Shirley MacLaine, it's her Magolia tree that Drum Eeatenton says is his. For Julia it's getting married and having kids. Though we learn quickly that this may not be possible as she is diabetic. Sally Fields just wants her family to be happy, Darryl Hannah wants a life free from a man 'who may or may not be my husband'. And Dolly just wants some love from a man who is down on his luck. Olympia Dukakis has a good life but missed her recently deceased husband.

      And so a tale unfolds. Julia marries Dermott Mulrooney and falls pregnant. The announcement upests Sally Fields who can't bring herself to be happy and she has just cause to be worried.

      As the film progresses a once happy community is united is sadness and sorrow before culminating in an ending that will have have you crying, laughing and smiling all at once. It is not a film that will let you wallow and while it is a sad ending of sorts it is also a beginning.

      I remember staging the last big scene set and I remember having a lump in my throat every night.

      If you get the DVD with extras watch the one about the back story to the play and you will find that it is about the author's sister. The nurses in the hospital were those who attended her and when you hear the love he had for 'Shelby' it makes it all the more poignant.

      This is the perfect film for a glass of wine and chocoltes on wet winter eveing or Sunday afternoon. it's about family, friends and love, but more importantly living life.

      ps, if you ever get the chance go see the stage version.

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        01.09.2009 10:17
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        A group of 6 friends have to face what life throws at them and support each other

        Another night on my own saw me indulging in a film which I have wanted to see for some time. I have seen the beginning of it several times but for some reason never watched the whole thing. I am so pleased that I did as it was an excellent film.

        The film is set in South Louisiana and follows the lives of 6 friends. The main character being Shelby who is due to get married but is having doubts as she is a severe diabetic and has be told she will not be able to have children safely. Also at the start of the film we meet Annelle who is a stranger to the town and has come to apply for a job at Truvy's Parlour. She does get the job and the women are intrigued by her and want to know all about her past.

        Shelby does marry and soon she has to break the news to her mother that she is pregnant. M'Lynn, the mother, gets lots of support from her friends, Truvy, Clairee and Ouiser and they tell her that things will be OK as long as they are all their to support Shelby.

        Will Shelby be able to have the baby she has always dreamed of and just what past is Annelle trying to hide?

        I have tried to be as brief as possible with the pot and there is just so much more to the story but I really don't want to spoil it for anyone who has not yet watched this.

        The film was centred around a wonderful group of friends and I thoroughly enjoyed the different characters in the group. We had a wide variety from the loving Mother to the gobby and constantly in a bad mood old girl! I thought that the diversity worked extremely well. Julia Roberts took the role of the main character, Shelby and I thought she did an excellent job and had me feeling so many different emotions throughout the film. She managed to be strong and wise one minute and the next she was a little girl needing comfort from her Mom.

        The role of M'Lynn was played by Sally field and she was great and I loved her portrayal of a good old fashioned woman who lived for her family and would move heaven and earth for the, this was apparent later on in the film. I think she worked so well with Julia Roberts and their on screen chemistry was great. The other characters were played by Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine and Daryl Hannah and they were all very good in their individual roles. I think they all managed to bring something different to the story and this is why they all got on so well. I did personally enjoy the role which Daryl Hannah took in Annelle and loved watching her blossom and grow through the film.

        There was a whole mountain of emotions in this film and personally I enjoyed the humour more as it was not in your face but was extremely funny when Clairee and Ouiser got together and would banter and argue with each other! I also thought that the storyline between M'Lynn's husband and Ouiser was great and this did bring a lot of the humour and I loved their shouting matches and how they pretended to not like each other but secretly did!

        I loved the setting for the film which was deep in South Louisiana as the characters all had thick accents which I thought did make them all sound slightly thick and slow but I did enjoy hearing them and Dolly Parton had no problems as this is how she talks normally! The costumes and sets for the film were all excellent and I did enjoy seeing the old fashioned town and how it was still years behind the cities. I am not entirely sure what year this film was meant to be set in but from what could gather from the costumes and fashions I would say about the late 70's or early 80's but please feel free to correct me if I am way off the mark!

        The music throughout the film was good but I would have liked a bit more and maybe a few more memorable tracks as none of them really stood out for me. I thought that it was all appropriate for the places which it was used. There were no real effects to speak of in this film.

        The DVD which I have does have some bonus material which includes:-

        Deleted Scenes
        Directors Commentary
        Featurettes: 'In Full Bloom: Remembering Steel Magnolias'
        Filmographies

        I am not a fan of bonus material so I have not watched these so I am unable to make any comment on whether they deserve a watch or not.

        The running time of this film is 1 hour and 53 minutes which I found to be a great length and thought that the story moved at a great pace from the very start to the end and I was not loosing interest at any point. The certificate on the film is a PG and I do agree with this. I think that there is one scene in particular which I would not advise children watching as it is indeed very moving and it did make me cry. For those of you who have seen this film then you will know which one I am referring to.

        I managed to get this DVD for just £2 in Tesco and I am so pleased with this price and the fact that I watched the whole thing. I definitely recommend this film as it has a wonderful story, amazing actors and the whole thing will make you happy, sad and laugh out loud.

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          16.05.2009 18:11

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          A great movie that guarantees both tears and laughter

          What a wonderful movie. I remember watching this as a young(ish) girl with my family and always enjoyed it.

          It's got a great cast, including Julia Roberts and Sally Field, who both play their parts wonderfully. It's got some great twists and turns, and while it is mostly a 'chick flick' it does keep the viewer interested in the story.

          The story starts on a wedding day and the cast slowly unfold throughout the day with their characters growing further throughout the movie. The group form a close bond and grow together throughout the film . There are some very sad scenes which will definately bring a tear to your eye, but these are balanced out very nicely by some great, fun scenes which make you laugh out loud. You just can't yourself.

          It's definetely a tear jerker so not a first date movie, that's for sure. Tears and laughter guaranteed throughout this film.

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          23.04.2009 14:55
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          A fantastic old-fashioned chick flick with outstanding performances from a great cast

          I was really surprised when I was looking to write a review on this fantastic film that it wasn't listed on here and I had to suggest it! What is the world coming to...

          Steel Magnolias is a 1989 film starring Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Dolly Parton and Olympia Dukakis in the lead roles. I first saw this film a couple of years after it came out when my nana borrowed it from her next-door neighbour and we watched it together; I must have been 11 or 12 at the time and I really enjoyed it then. I then recorded it off the telly a few years back and watched it with my husband (who has never let me forget this; he claims that it's 2 hours of his life he'll never get back!) So imagine my delight when mooching around one of my local charity shops when I saw it on sale, on video, for 33p! (well the offer was 3 videos for 99p, so I bought a couple more as well). I wasn't going to try to get my husband to watch it again with me, so I watched it with my then (nearly) 8 year old daughter.

          The film is set in northwest Louisiana in the late 1980s, and follows the lives of six female friends (played by the actresses mentioned above). Steel Magnolias begins with the wedding of Shelby (Julia Roberts) to Jackson (played by Dylan McDermott). The film then follows what happens to Shelby, her mother and friends over the course of the next three years.

          Shelby Eatenton Latcherie - We find out early on that Shelby has had a lot of serious health problems and is diabetic, and therefore advised not to have any children of her own. However Shelby goes against this advice and gets pregnant anyway, much to the concern of her over-protective mother M'Lynn (a fantastic performance by Sally Field). I think that Julia Robers plays a very good part in this film, and she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for this role so I'm obviously not the only one!

          M'Lynn Eatenton - the mother of Shelby, married to Drum (played by Tom Skerritt). M'Lynn is understandably very over-protective of Shelby; the film gives the strong impression that she has nearly lost her a few times. The pair have a great relationship; you can tell they're very close and love each other dearly although you can't agree on anything! I personally felt that Sally Field outshone everyone else in the film with her outstanding performance; she is very believable in the role and as a mother myself I could completely empathise with her character.

          Truvy Jones- played by Dolly Parton. Truvy is the owner of the local beauty salon, and a very glamorous lady (as is Ms Parton herself of course!). She is married to Spud (played by Sam Shepard), a rather emotionally distant and cold man, and she really wants to feel more love from him.

          Oiuser (pronounced Weezer) Boudreaux - Shirley MacLaine is also fantastic in her role as Ouiser, the town's rich eccentric old woman, who always seem to be angry and complaining about something. I found the character of Ouiser quite frightening when I first saw the film, but now I think she's really funny. There is a lot of depth to the character which makes you understand why she is the way she is! She gets all the best lines in the film and swears like a navvy!

          Annelle Dupoy Desoto - played by Daryl Hannah. Annelle is a very complex character; she starts the film as the new girl in town (who is supposedly 19, although she looks a lot older!) and is very sweet and innocent. She then becomes quite fun-loving and promiscuous, before becoming a religious fanatic. You don't get much back story with Annelle, so it's hard to understand why she changes from one personality to another and then again in such a short space of time. I feel her character could have been explored further. Darly Hannah is very good in this role, though she'll always be Madison the mermaid to me!

          Clairee Belcher - played by Olympia Dukakis. Clairee is the widow of the town's former mayor and is very wealthy. She has a fantastic relationship with Ouiser; they're always bickering with each other but you know deep down they love each other dearly. I could listen to Clairee talk forever; she has such a fantastic accent!

          This is definitely a chick flick; I think most men would really hate it; there is a lot of depth to it and although there are comedic moments this is definitely more "female" humour. There are some rather tough scenes in the film; I don't want to go into it too much for fear of giving the plot away but you'll probably need a box of Kleenex to hand (to be honest you'll probably figure out what's going to happen about ten minutes into the film but that doesn't make it any the less upsetting!) The relationship between the friends is fantastic; i think every woman would love to have such a fantastic group of female friends to confide in and have a laugh with.

          The male characters in the film don't really get a look in to be honest! In fact the film is based on a play of the same name, and there were no male actors in it at all; the male characters were just referred to by the female characters. I have since found that the man who wrote the play, Robert Harling, based it around his own experience of having a diabetic sister.

          The film's director, Herbert Ross, also directed another favourite chick flick of mine, Boys on the Side, starring Whoopi Goldberg and Drew Barrymore, as well as Footloose.

          Runtime: 117 minutes

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            19.04.2009 01:19
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            A film with equally good performances from all the actresses, great.

            I am surprised no one has yet reviewed this film, as it is definitely one of my all time favourites, and I'm sure popular amongst many women.

            This film could be thought of as a chick flick, as the storyline is based around six women as the main characters, all living in a small town in Louisiana, USA. However, I think the story is strong enough that men could definitely enjoy watching it too.

            The stars in this film are Shirley MacLaine (Ouiser), who plays a cantankerous older woman with a wicked sarcastic streak. Her old pal and sparring partner Olympia Dukakis (Clairee) a widow who is a lady with an eye for the men and her own southern charm. Then there is Dolly Parton (Truvy) who runs the local beauty salon, Darryl Hannah (Annelle) is the new girl in town who Truvy takes under her wing, and comes to work in the salon. Lastly there is the mother-daughter relationship portrayed by Sally Field (M'lynn) and Julia Roberts (Shelby) before her meteoric rise to fame.

            The film centres on the intwined 'goings on' of these six women, and the struggles and the laughter they share through their day to day lives. A brief synopsis is that Shelby gets married and wants a family, but has been informed she should not, as she has diabetes. Thus ensues the struggle with her mother M'lynn who wishes her daughter every happiness, but not at potential risk of her health.

            There are great moments of laughter throughout the film, the male characters are more background types, but the relationship between cynical old Ouiser and her nemesis, M'lynn's husband Drum is comedy gold. The same can be said for her banter with Clairee. Even her merciless teasing of the sweet but naive Annelle gives way to a kindness underneath it all.

            M'lynn and Shelby are the characters which most of the storyline is centred upon, and the scene where M'lynn is grieving at the cemetary is spectacular. She portrays with ultimate conviction, the whole range of emotion associated with death, from sorrow to absolute rage, and to top off the scene it ends with more laughter. As Truvy says 'laughter through tears is my favourite emotion.'

            I feel that Sally Field was the strongest actress in this film, and should have recieved an oscar nomination for that scene. Sadly she didn't. The film shows that life goes on, even after death. The characters support each other right till the end, which definitely leaves you smiling. It could be seen as a little cheesy in parts, but the wonderful one-liners and excellent performances from tried and tested actresses makes for a fantastic and very heart warming, enjoyable film. I defy you to not laugh AND cry at this.

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