Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Cafe (1991)
Fried Green Tomatoes Sure Do Taste Good
Oh it don't make no kind of sense. Big ol' ox like Grady won't sit next to a colored child. But he eats eggs- shoot right outta chicken's ass! - Sipsey
"Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Cafe" is one of those movies which is like a much loved, but worn out jumper that you keep but rarely wear. But when you put the jumper on, it makes you feel warm and cosy and good memories come flooding back. It's exactly the same with "Fried Green Tomatoes"; it sits in your movie collection, gathering dust, as you get newer DVDs, but all of a sudden you come across it and when you put it on, the story comes flooding back making you feel good, assured that you will be entertained by the drama and nostalgic charm.
Evelyn Couch (Kathy Bates - Misery) is an unhappy housewife who having reached middle-age feels that her life is going nowhere. It doesn't help that her husband Ed (Gailard Sartain) continually ignores her and his convalescing aunt can't stand her, to the point of throwing objects at her when ever she goes to visit. But her humdrum life takes a new turn when she meets Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy - Cocoon: The Return) who delights her with stories about the Whistle Stop Cafe and young Idgie Threadgoode (Mary Stuart Masterson - Some Kind of Wonderful) who was given to drinking, gambling but was loyal to her best friend Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker).
The main storyline to "Fried Green Tomatoes" is the friendship between Idgie and Ruth and not as you would first expect the friendship between Evelyn and Ninny. We see, through many of the little stories told by Ninny, that although Idgie and Ruth didn't hit it off to start with, over time their friendship grew into an unbreakable bond and they would do anything to protect each other as well as their close friends. All these stories empower Evelyn to do something about her dull life, which inadvertently leads to some amusing scenes including a self help class for women where they are asked to straddle mirrors.
The star of "Fried Green Tomatoes" for me is the wonderful Jessica Tandy; her portrayal of Ninny is absolutely brilliant, so much so that she was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for this role. Through every scene she comes across as someone who has seen a lot and learnt a lot and loves every minute of life. Alongside Tandy is Kathy Bates as Evelyn Crouch who prior to this was known for her very scary role in "Misery", so it was a surprise to see her playing a more comedic role. Bates has done a wonderful job of showing us a woman struck by a mid life crisis, but also showing us a funnier side as she tries to pull her self out of her depression, watch out for her dancing on a trampoline and singing "Stop in The Name of Love", by the end of "Fried Green Tomatoes", she has completely transformed.
Then we have Idgie played by Mary Stuart Masterson and Ruth played by Mary Louise Parker, these two stars seem to effortlessly play their parts and are a total joy to watch. The supporting cast in "Fried Green Tomatoes" and the characters which they play are just as important as the stars and there are some great performances from the likes of Stan Shaw, Cicely Tyson and Gailard Sartain. Also look out for Chris O' Donnell who appears in the film for a few very important scenes.
"Fried Green Tomatoes" is directed by John Avnet who usually works as a producer. Avnet has done a beautiful job of catching all the sentiment of the story allowing the story to be the star of the movie. He has been fortunate to have not only an excellent cast to work with but some very beautiful locations which really help capture the mood and period of the film. His choice of shots within the scenes are also brilliant as they show the emotion of the scene, whether it's loneliness or happiness.
As you would expect with a movie set in the Deep South, the soundtrack to "Fried Green Tomatoes" features plenty of moody, bluesy numbers but also some very soft orchestral pieces which again help demonstrate the emotions of the piece. There is also the bonus of some more modern fun tracks such as "Stop in the Name of Love".
What this all boils down to is that "Fried Green Tomatoes" is my comfy jumper, I probably only watch it once a year but each time it never fails to make me feel good about myself. It's not a weepy or a romance, it is just an excellent story acted out by some very talented actors and directed with the emphasis on the story. No matter if you're young or old, male or female, "Fried Green Tomatoes" has something for everyone, humour, drama, murder and a couple of surprise twists to the story.
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