Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5.
USA/United Kingdom, 1991. Universal Pictures, Act III Communications, Avnet/Kerner Productions, Electric Shadow Productions, Fried Green Tomatoes Productions. Screenplay by Fannie Flagg, Carol Sobieski, based on the novel Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. Cinematography by Geoffrey Simpson. Produced by Jon Avnet, Jordan Kerner. Music by Thomas Newman. Production Design by Barbara Ling. Costume Design by Elizabeth McBride. Film Editing by Debra Neil-Fisher.
This marvelous journey had its inception in Fannie Flagg’s deliciously Southern novel Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe. From there it made the transition to the big screen with its deeply sympathetic characters and enjoyably sentimental situations intact. Films like Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and How To Make An American Quilt have tried to imitate it in the years since (its box office intake even inspired rumours of a sequel), but nothing has come to recreate its quality since it was first released. Kathy Bates gives her best performance (and she has said it has been so far her favourite movie experience) as a middle-aged, frumpy housewife who meets a spunky old lady (Jessica Tandy) while visiting her husband’s aunt in a retirement home in Alabama. At first thinking the old lady an annoying biddy, Bates eventually finds herself listening to Tandy tell her tall tales of the adventures of two young women from her youth, a daredevil tomboy named Idgie Threadgoode (Mary Stuart Masterson), and a beautiful young lady named Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker) with whom Idgie falls in love. These stories end up inspiring Bates to take up the reins in her own life and do something useful with herself. Jon Avnet contributes the best direction of his career, before or since, and Thomas Newman’s gorgeous score adds just the right southern flavour to this journey that is one you’re sure to enjoy.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Tandy); Best Adapted Screenplay
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Picture-Musical/Comedy; Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Kathy Bates); Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Tandy)