Parents' Guide to

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Chick flick for mom; teens may not enjoy it.

Movie PG-13 2002 114 minutes
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

Like A Rambling Rose Without A Garden

Was it screenplay writer/director Callie Khouri or her editor Andrew Marcus, who left so many viewers struggling to follow the endless string of crazy situations – that get thrown at them during this difficult to follow venture? A group of Southern women --who don’t seem to have developed much beyond their childhood years -- gather together to reunite an estranged mother and daughter. The results are both predictable and somewhat vague but mostly just poorly presented. Maybe you need to have read Rebecca Wells book to figure who was who but from all the comments I’ve checked, even those that read the book were struggling to identify with many of the characters. The picture looks attractive, and some performances from an interesting cast are good - but the endless mixed up situations, just become unnecessarily hard work to keep up with. Singer/composer T Bone Burnett (and future husband of the director) wrote some interesting songs that add some enjoyment along the way. The movie made some good money, so Southern Belles may have approved but, wonder how many others might last the distance?

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD has all of the ingredients for a good, old-fashioned chick flick. It boasts an Oscar-winning cast willing to pull out all the stops; quirky, flawed, but relentlessly adorable and completely devoted characters with cute names; handsome, supportive, understanding, and completely devoted boyfriends (one with a cute accent); and a mother-daughter reconciliation. Everyone is just as colorful as can be. It even has a built-in audience of fans who made the book into a sleeper sensation. But it doesn't quite make it into the pantheon of chick flick greatness, alongside such classics as Terms of Endearment and Steel Magnolias. The story has more flash than heart, and the resolution is a little too pat and easy. We hear a lot about the great friendship but don't really feel it. There is something truly unsavory about the portrayal of knocking someone out and abducting her as madcap and charming. And the plot is a Swiss cheese of logical holes. Still, it is a great pleasure to watch these fine actresses give their all, and to hear the soundtrack by T. Bone Burnett, the guy behind the magnificent Grammy-winning soundtrack of O Brother Where Art Thou.

Sidda learns that it was not her fault and it was not really Vivi's fault, either, and Vivi learns a few things, too, so there is a happy ending for everyone. But it never feels real. Part of it is the absence of the people far more likely than Vivi's friends to help Sidda sort through everything -- where are her sisters and the other petites ya-yas (children of the Ya-Yas)? It is superficial and a little manipulative -- the big revelation that is supposed to answer all questions is not so big and leaves more than a few questions still open. The acting is a joy, though, especially the divine Maggie Smith as a steel magnolia who drags around an oxygen tank and tosses off quips drier than any martini. Burstyn and Judd do a terrific job of melding their performances so that you can believe they are playing the same character.

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