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Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd
Director: Callie Khouri
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 116 Minutes
Release Date: June 2002
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: Caitlin Wachs, Cherry Jones, David Rasche, Angus MacFadyen, Ellen Burstyn, Fionnula Flanagan, Maggie Smith

Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

Grab your mother, daughter and/or best gal friend for the rollicking chick flick of the year! Based on Rebecca Wells' best-seller about a mother/daughter relationship gone awry, this multi-generational story revolves around a successful New York playwright and her aging Southern belle mother. When thirty-something Sidda Lee Walker (Sandra Bullock) tells a TIME magazine reporter about her Louisiana roots, particularly, about Vivi, her eccentric, self-indulgent, boozing, sometimes abusive mother, a feud erupts. Vivi (Ellen Burstyn) goes ballistic. Neither her stoic husband (James Garner) nor her three loving friends (dour Maggie Smith, rich Fionnula Flanagan, helpful Shirley Knight), known as the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, can calm her down. Chums since childhood, the Ya-Yas travel to Manhattan, kidnap Sidda and bring her home, where they take her on a trip through the bayous of memories via the Secrets of the Ya-Ya scrapbook, figuring that if Sidda really knew about her mother, she'd be more understanding. Indeed, as flashbacks reveal, there is a rational explanation for Vivi's bizarre behavior and the emotional scars Sidda bears, including a reluctance to marry her fiancé (Angus MacFadyen). We see Vivi as conflicted young mother (Ashley Judd) entwined with the Ya-Yas as their younger selves. The screenplay by Callie Khouri ("Thelma & Louise"), adapted by Mark Andrus, adeptly condenses the insightful book and the look-alike casting is clever. But as a director, Khouri is self-indulgent. The pacing is slow, confusion often reigns and some scenes go on far too long. Nevertheless, on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" is a mumbo-gumbo, fun-filled 8, delivering a spirited yet poignant message about dysfunctional families and forgiveness.

Copyright © 2002 Susan Granger

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