This film is a true story and a brilliant depiction of friendship that manages to be witty, warm, uplifting, and, just when you thought you were safe, utterly heartbreaking. It’s also frequently laugh-out-loud funny.
MacLaine grabbing Dukakis by the bangs, shoving her head back with a sneering “Have your roots done,” radiates more feminine fellowship than a dozen sisterhoods of the travelling pants. Not bad for a movie that alternates the tragedy of dying young and beautiful against the comedy of growing old and bitter.
The six women of the film steal the show in Steel Magnolias with their terrific performances. masterfully shifting from comedy to drama to bring an emotional train ride while entertaining us with their top notch chemistry.
The principal pleasure of the movie is in the ensemble work of the actresses, as they trade one-liners and zingers and stick together and dish the dirt. Steel Magnolias is willing to sacrifice its over-all impact for individual moments of humor, and while that leaves us without much to take home, you've got to hand it to them: The moments work.
Steel Magnolias is an old-fashioned "klatsch" film, a prefeminist relic in which a group of women eschew the public world of men in favor of the community of the coffee table. Their world is shown as inferior to men's in terms of power but superior to it in emotion and insight into the things that "really matter."
Everything Terms of Endearment's detractors
accused Terms of being: a synthetic, manipulative tragi-comedy with
performances more appropriate to a proscenium arch - or to a drag show -
than to the wide screen. And yet, there are moments in the movie of high
comedy and sequences of searing truth. At its worst, Steel Magnolias is
vastly inferior to Designing Women; at its best, it brings to mind (but
never equals) Tennessee Williams. [20 Nov 1989]
Steel Magnolias is pop entertainment of an especially condescending, superficial sort. Its bitchiness and greeting-card truisms are made no more palatable by the fact that Mr. Harling probably wrote it with as much sincerity and passion as Mr. Shepard put into "Fool for Love."
The movie is an orgiastic celebration of big, sloppy emotions; it's the film equivalent of "Feelings." And what we're supposed to take from it is a renewed faith in the indomitable strength of women. But with all this big acting and all these stars elbowing for space in front of the camera, the film comes across as something quite the opposite of what was intended, not a tribute to femininity but a kind of grotesque parody -- a corn-pone variation on "The Women."
A great ensemble cast and a simple, touching script really makes Steel Magnolias a must see movie. There are funny moments, sad moments, and a lot of lessons about friendship and life. This is a great movie, and the actresses leading the cast really make the whole film.