A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Women may seem to rule the roost, but this is genteel Louisiana -- gender roles are firmly in place. Very few people of color appear. However, a major theme is compassion.
Positive Role Models
These women gossip mercilessly -- as one says (using the famous quote) "If you haven't anything nice to say, come sit by me."
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Shelby's fiancé surprises her when she's bathing.
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Plenty of scatological epithets, and one crusty woman curses a blue streak.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Steel Magnolias handles some mature material, including a mother watching her adult daughter die. Plus there are plenty of scatological epithets, and one woman curses a blue streak. The women also gossip relentlessly. Women may seem to rule the roost, but this is genteel Louisiana -- gender roles are firmly in place. Also, very few people of color appear. But this is ultimately an emotional, heartwarming story about friendship, family, and lifelong bonds. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This movie put Julia Roberts on the map and earned her an Oscar nomination, but Sally Field steals the show and there are many other memorable performances. As two rich, rival widows, Olympia Dukakis and Shirley MacLaine are delightfully snippy, despite their deep friendship. Dolly Parton shines as a "beauty technician" and lovelorn philosopher -- her salon is the backdrop for the best scenes. And Daryl Hannah is a timid beauty school graduate who grows into her own, nurtured by these strong women.
While the main storyline is a sad one, ending with a powerful death, Steel Magnolias is really about the friendships that sustain us through life's highs and lows. This movie has plenty of heart and offers a powerful picture of kindness and compassion between women. Adolescent girls may find the friendship theme especially compelling, as they begin to depend on friends' support through their own crises, from heartbreak to the dynamics of family relationships.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.