Steel Magnolias (1989)

Steel Magnolias” began as a successful off-Broadway play written by Robert Harling, and was made into a film in 1989. Full of talented actresses, quirky and clever dialogue, and a touching storyline, this movie became an instant hit and today is a modern classic.

It’s Shelby’s wedding day, and everyone in the Louisiana neighborhood where she lives is getting ready. Truvy, (Dolly Parton) the owner of the local beauty parlor, is expecting good business as all the ladies will want to do their best. M’Lynn (Sally Field) is especially nervous – as the mother of the bride, she hopes everything will go well, but her husband (Tom Skerrit) has lost his mind, just a little – the trees on the property are full of birds, and as the reception is outside, he has to scare them all away. M’Lynn hid the gun, so he can’t start shooting them, but he’s done just about everything else.

Shelby (Julia Roberts) has Type I diabetes, and while Truvy is fixing her hair, has an insulin reaction. After getting her under control, they continue her wedding preparations, but M’Lynn is more concerned than ever for the well-being of her daugther. Sharing in that concern are good friends and other beauty shop patrons Clairee (Olympia Dukakis) and Ouiser (Shirley MacLaine). Shelby deserves this day of happiness; why did her sickness have to intrude?

We follow these women over the course of the next year, through their relationship ups and downs, through Ouiser’s outrageous temper tantrums and then through Shelby’s unexpected pregnancy. She was told by her doctor that becoming pregnant would not be wise in her condition, but she has decided that she wants to have a child more than anything. The friends band together as they celebrate the baby’s birth and all the complications that go along with it, including Shelby’s downward spiral into death.

This film is absolutely chock full of hysterical moments, but the most powerful scene in the movie is M’Lynn saying goodby at Shelby’s grave. I get chills just thinking about it – the acting is so incredible, we feel it right along with her.

There is a little bit of language in this movie, but you know what, I enjoyed the story so much, it didn’t bother me. Clairee and Ouiser shoot verbal arrows at each other all through the film and you will laugh your head off, that’s a guarantee. Oh, and don’t forget to help yourself to a slice of bleeding armadillo groom’s cake.

This film is rated PG.

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