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Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002)

A daughter learns her mother’s deepest secrets from her childhood friends

Directed by:

Calli Khouri

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 112 minutes

UK Certificate: 12

On DVD

Country: United States

Siddalee 'Sidda' Walker (Sandra Bullock) is a writer, and is engaged to be married. On the surface her life appears to be full of promise, but when she makes some comments about her childhood in a magazine interview it exposes all the cracks in her relationship with her mother – Viviane 'Vivi' Walker (Ellen Burstyn) – along with her own insecurities. Both are as stubborn as each other, and a feud between the two quickly develops.

In her childhood, Vivi was once part of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood – a secret group of four girls who swore an oath of friendship. Now the other three – Caro, Teensy and Necie – step in to try to help Sidda understand her mother by telling her some of the secrets they shared. This they achieve by drugging and abducting her, then introducing her to the Ya-Ya's diary of secrets. The journey to understanding is a long one, and along the way Sidda breaks off her engagement through fear that she will turn out like her mother, still not fully comprehending the influences that made Vivi the way she was. Only by gaining some understanding of her relationship with her mother can Sidda learn to understand herself and decide the direction her own life should take.

The story is told through extensive use of flashbacks to various points in Vivi's life, exploring her relationship with her friends, family, lovers and children.

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It's Got: A strong cast and charming story.

It Needs: A slightly stronger clarification of Sidda’s changing feelings towards her mother.

DVD Extras The featurettes in particular do a good job of taking the viewer into the characters and motivations behind the film, and the deleted scenes are more revealing than usual. Music video: Sitting in the Window of my Room (performed by Alison Krauss).

Other Extras: Director/screenwriter and cast commentary, Filmmaker commentary, 8 additional scenes, Unlocking the Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood featurette, Ya-Ya Sisterhood Scrapbook featurette, Trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 8/10

Alternatives:

Beaches, Fried Green Tomatoes At the Whistle Stop Café (US: Fried Green Tomatoes).

Summary

A tale of a childhood friendship which is stronger than most. Told with good humour and a deep understanding of the motivations of the characters.

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