Eng – 225
Instructor – Alex Vuilleumier
November 25, 2012
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the movie called “Steel Magnolias” (1989) directed by Herbert Ross. Steel Magnolias has been one of my families favorite films for many years; however, my intentions are to carefully critique the movie based on storytelling, acting, cinematography, edit, sound, style, and finally my interpretation of the film from a critics point of view. Storytelling and review should start with the Goethe’s three questions then the truth test. “from late 18th/early 19th–century poet and playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s autobiography that form the basis of virtually all critical reaction to theater, film, literature, or creative art ask three questions: What is film trying to say?, How well does the film say it?, and Was it worth saying?” (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2010). The truth test asks: is the film true to itself? And does the film explore some deep truth about human nature? (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2010). Steel Magnolias is about film is about the bond among a group of women from a parish in the Natchitoches, Louisiana, area. Steel Magnolias is a metaphoric title that suggests the main female characters can be as delicate as magnolias, but are as tough as steel. The internal conflict is between the mother and daughter relationship. The married daughter, who has type one diabetes, is contemplating on having a child, however the mother indignantly disagrees. The mother is concerned her daughter’s body chemistry cannot handle child birth. The daughter, being tough as steel, becomes pregnant. The majority of the town including the father is excited, but the mother is concerned. Several months pass, the daughter successfully delivers a baby boy. However, several months later Shelby begins showing signs of kidney failure and starts dialysis. The mother offers to donate a kidney to her daughter and the transplant takes place on her son’s first birthday. Three to four months following the transplant, Shelby's body rejects the kidney and she collapses into a coma. The doctors inform the family that Shelby will likely remain comatose indefinitely, and her family and husband jointly decide to remove Shelby from life support. The resolution of the conflict is when the mother finally accepts the daughter’s death and focuses her energy of helping raise her grandson. The story is true to itself. It describes a very strong willed mother, who is very protective of her daughter; however the mother’s strong will was instilled into her daughter by her mother. The actors in the film included: Sally Fields (mother), Julia Roberts (daughter), Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Dolly Parton, and Daryl Hannah. Although the story revolves around Sally Fields and Julia Roberts as the main actors, the cast mixed with character and wild card actors, played their part by holding the film together. Steel Magnolias is set entirely within a beauty parlor (nice set designed by John Whittington), where the women gather to laugh, gossip, cry, and offer friendship and understanding to each other in a safe, man-free environment. "The lead actresses all lived close to each other in rented houses in Natchitoches during the brutally hot Louisiana summer shoot. They spent a great deal of time together off camera and became genuine friends in the process. With so many top actresses together sharing the spotlight, it seemed inevitable that there would be drama. However, that didn't happen. "From day one," said Dolly Parton in her autobiography, "people were predicting trouble on the set because the cast included so many strong actresses with distinct and different personalities. That trouble never developed. We all got along fine"(www.tmc.com). Many feel that the comic drama to be insightful and accurate about the way women respond to life’s serious crises, such as illness and death,...
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