USA Today - 11/15/1989
"...STEEL MAGNOLIAS is marvelously cast..."
Los Angeles Times - 11/15/1989
"...Parton has a sweet, lilting presence..."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Sometimes laughter is a matter of life and death...
Six divas of the silver screen - Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah, Olympia Dukakis and Julia Roberts - come together as bosom buddies in this hilarious and heartwarming story of life, love and loss in a small Louisiana Parish. At the center of the group is Shelby Eatenton (Julia Roberts), newly married and joyfully pregnant, despite the fact that her diabetes could make childbirth life-threatening. Terrified and angry at the possibility of losing her only daughter, M'Lynn Eatenton (Sally Field) looks to her four closest friends for strength and laughter as she battles her deepest fears of death in order to join Shelby in celebrating the miracle of new life.
Full of life and brimming with laughter, this smash hit comedy is a warm and witty tribute to the power of friendship. In a quaint Louisiana town, the local beauty parlor serves as the gathering spot for a group of eccentric women to gossip and giggle and survive the hardships and splendors of life. The movie features sparkling performances all around, including from Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Shirley Maclaine, Daryl Hannah, and Olympia Dukakis.
In a quaint, well-kept Louisiana hamlet a local group of women congregate at Truvy's (Dolly Parton) Beauty Spot, where they gossip and giggle while preparing one another for life's little tragedies and terrific triumphs. Lately the talk of the town has been M'Lynn Eatenton's (Sally Field) daughter Shelby (Julia Roberts)--betrothed to handsome young lawyer Jackson Latcherie (Dylan McDermott)--and her upcoming wedding. Quirky newcomer Annelle (Darryl Hannah) is Truvy's latest assistant, whose peculiar past is enough to gain her acceptance into the cliquish coffee klatch. And then there's mean-spirited Ouiser Boudreaux (Shirley MacLaine), whose extreme wealth and bad temperament has alienated her from the community even though she is still much loved by her loyal friends at the beauty parlor, including wealthy society maven Clairee Belcher (Olympia Dukakis). Much to her mother's dismay, Shelby's planning to have children, which is a serious health concern because she's severely diabetic. Luckily these steel magnolias can lean on one another for support in good and bad times. STEEL MAGNOLIAS is a touching and hilarious tribute to the strength and loyalty of southern women, directed with a deft hand by Herb Ross.
Character Study |
Essential Cinema |
Family Interaction |
Family Life |
Family Relations |
Tear Jerker |
The original play on which the film was based was written as a play in two acts by Robert Harling and originally produced by New York's WPA Theatre. According to Variety, all staging was by Pamela Berlin and Don Newcomb. The play differs from the film in that it is situated entirely in the beauty parlor.
One of the ways Robert Harling expanded his play for the screen was by developing his male characters further.
Harling makes a cameo appearance as a minister.
"I'd rather have 30 minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing."--Shelby (Julia Roberts)
"If you have something bad to say about somebody...sit down right here beside me!"--Clairee (Olympia Dukakis)
"He is a boil on the butt of humanity!"--Ouiser (Shirley MacLaine)
"My personal tragedies will not interfere with my ability to do good hair."--Annelle (Daryl Hannah)