Fried Green Tomatoes
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film is heartwarming but also contains many violent and scary scenes that are probably too much for young kids. Several characters die, including main characters, which may be difficult for sensitive kids or kids who have lost a loved one. The KKK has a presence in the film, whipping one character and threatening another. One main character suffers spousal abuse while pregnant. The film offers plenty of comeuppance for the bad guys, though, and focuses on the empowerment of women through their bold actions. Also of note: The subtext is that Idgy and Ruth are lesbian partners, though the film never shows anything that would make that clear.
What's the story?
Evelyn (Kathy Bates) is a repressed Southern housewife who downs a dozen candy bars a day to cope with her failing marriage when she meets the frail Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy) at a senior citizens' home. Ninny tells Evelyn the story of Idgy (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Ruth's (Mary-Louise Parker) life together in the tiny Alabama town of Whistle Stop. Nonconformist Idgy, a young woman prone to wearing men's clothes and gambling, and God-fearing Ruth face abusive husbands, the KKK, and even a murder rap together. Through it all, they raise Ruth's son, Buddy Jr., and learn how important it is to protect those you love no matter what.
Is it any good?
Like all good Southern gothic stories, FRIED GREEN TOMATOES serves up a heaping portion of tall tales, scary situations, and explorations of social issues. The story unfolds in ellipses and fable-like flashbacks that make it both spellbinding and frightening, teaching viewers the importance of altruism.
Fried Green Tomatoes wouldn't be the long-standing favorite it is without the phenomenal performances of some of the day's best actors. Bates, Tandy, Cicely Tyson, and Parker bring this tale to life. They also raise questions about whether the way we deal with issues like homelessness and racial intolerance is much better today.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about empowerment in the characters' lives. Many had to stray from the good opinions of others to feel empowered. Is ignoring your critics a good idea sometimes? Was it a good idea for Idgy? Was it good for Ruth? Why or why not? Ruth is also abused by her husband, which may be a good opportunity for parents to talk to kids about what's acceptable in relationships and how to identify someone who's abusive.