Tuesday, October 09, 2012

"Steel Magnolias" Remake Review

"Steel Magnolias" has always been one of my favorite movies. Along with "Beaches," this movie reminds me of my childhood. So, I was not impressed when I heard that it was getting a remake. I'm not a huge fan of remakes in general. But, I do not really care for classics being remade. The only draw of this remake was the cast. An all Black cast. I was intrigued because Ms. Phylicia Rashad was the name that stuck out to me. I love her. Who doesn't? She is the quintessential Mother and wife. And, a damn good actress to boot. I was still apprehensive about this remake. I wanted it to be good because it is an all Black cast. But, this was a classic. I didn't watch it when it premiered because I was all caught up in the Saints game. I watched it last night. And, I watched with bated breath waiting to be fully impressed. There were moments when I was. Overall, I was underwhelmed. I am sad about that.

The plot is the same. I mean, down to the actual lines. I was saying them with the cast. The movie is essentially the same yet different. It seems to have lost some of its spunk. The so called "southern" accents were questionable and all over the place. Queen Latifah's accent was anything but southern. Phylicia Rashad and Alfre Woodard were the best with that. The rest of the cast was not. Being a Southern woman, I may be overly critical of accents in movies and television. Lance Gross was severely underutilized in this film. I would have loved to see him more. I hated that the last final scene was moved from the cemetery to Truvy's beauty shop. That was a bad move.That scene was important in the original. Also, Latifah in the final soliloquy was laughable at best. The speech, the tears, her facial expressions none of it was as genuine as Sally Field in the scene. I didn't really buy Latifah as the motherly M'Lynn. She didn't truly capture the essence of the character.

I am a new fan of Condola Rashad, daughter of Phylicia. She plays Shelby, the role made famous by Julia Roberts. She was pretty great as Shelby. I still cried when Jackson found Shelby passed out on the floor. Still cried when Shelby died as if that would change in any version of the movie. The cast boasts that the movie was filmed in only 17 days. I can tell. There is something lacking throughout this film. It could be because it was shot in such a short period of time. I'm really not sure. I watched it once. I don't think I will need to see it again. There were pivotal scenes from the original that were omitted in this version. This makes the remake seem incomplete. As a fan, I needed all of the scenes. Truvy's relationship with her husband wasn't included in the way it should have been. Weezer's relationship with her old flame was merely touched upon. Annelle's courtship was non-existent . And the final scene was not what I wanted or needed. I read on Twitter as people slander this movie. I think some judged it too harshly. It had its good points, notably Jill Scott, both Rashads and Woodard. Classic movies should be preserved and not remade. That is my humble opinion. Because the reality is the remake will never stand up to the original.The original "Steel Magnolias" will forever live in the hearts of many. I don't think that I can say the same for this remake. Watch it and decide for yourself.

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