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Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)


[Reciting from the Book of Ruth]: “And Ruth said: ‘Whither thou goest, I will go. Where thou lodgest, I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people.'”

A classic film from the 90s, Fried Green Tomatoes is a beautiful story of friendship, love, and what it means to find yourself in the eyes of another person.

If you give me a chance – a chance to get to know you…maybe it’ll be fun

A timeless and epic film, Fried Green Tomatoes explores the relationship between two sets of friends in two separate times. The first of these is Evelyn (Kathy Bates) and Ninny; Evelyn is a well-meaning, traditional Southern housewife who is striving for more in her somewhat empty life. Ninny is an elderly woman who resides in a senior citizen’s home – at first complete opposites, Ninny is lively, loud and loving, while Evelyn is slightly more conservative, cautious but more than anything, deeply selfless.

The story begins as these two women sit down one sunny afternoon to relay the story of Idgie and Ruth, again, two polar women who are gravitate towards each other and live the rest of their lives together. Idgie – a strong, feisty and (discursively gendered) ‘masculine’ young woman crosses paths with Ruth – a proper, upright and (equally generically) feminine woman who is called to keep an isolated Idgie company. I’ll leave the reasons of Idgie’s isolation for you to discover, but nonetheless, Ruth and Idgie prove to hold a connection that lasts a lifetime.

“Be slow to fall into friendship; but when thou art in, continue firm and constant” – Socrates

The audience view Idgie and Ruth as more than just characters from Ninny’s story – we live them, work them, and in time attach ourselves to these two ambitious young women as they grow. Parallel to Ninny’s story is Evelyn’s passage to her own sense of self-worth; this is only achieved through the compassion and guidance Ninny provides her, and in the process, another set of two women are bound for a lifetime.

You reminded me about what the most important thing in life is: friends. Best friends.

What is it to truly love, and be loved? How do we know if someone is precious enough for us to spare the most precious things we have – time?

Pros

  • Wonderful, adventure-filled plot
  • Great characterisation
  • As always, the score by Thomas Newman is infallible and riddled with emotion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0tca2HBHRA)
  • Gorgeous display of Southern food
  • I enjoyed the option of choice and ambiguity about some aspects of the film; see Con list below

Cons

  • As Fried Green Tomatoes is based on lesbian, class and race themes, the film version only alludes to all three of these aspects, but is still a heart-warming and thought provoking journey.

It is so rare…to find a complete person, with a soul, a heart and an imagination; so rare for characters as ardent and restless as ours to meet and to be matched together, that I hardly know how to tell you what happiness it gives me to know you“- Hector Berlioz

Final Verdict

9/10

I truly cannot express the extent to which this film comforts and stimulates me. I’ll leave you to watch this film (because of my characteristic preference to omit a deep synopses) and I’m sure you’ll love me for it. Simply one of the best female friendship films ever made, Fried Green Tomatoes is classic film for the whole family and highlights the necessity of human connection and just how precious friends really are. Amidst the waffle, cliché’s and plain banality of romance, this film reminds us of the importance of female connections and how to treasure them with all we have.

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2 thoughts on “Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)

  1. Pingback: The Burning Plain (2008) « Film & Philosophy

  2. Pingback: The Burning Plain (2008) | Film & Philosophy

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