Dukakis, Fields, Hannah, Parton, MacLaine, Roberts Star
Although Julia Roberts is given top billing in this all star woman cast, I feel that's quite unfair. For instance, Shirley MacLaine has perhaps never delivered a more crabbier, wittier performance. Olympia Dukakis is like a matriarch of a group of friends who gets them all through the roughs. Sally Field is a mousy little mother and grandmother constantly having to deal with life on the brink of death. The whole story is centered around Dolly Parton's hair salon where the women gather to gripe and chatter, with Dolly playing humorous hair doing shrink. Daryl Hannah arrives as an out of towner outcast abused pregnant victim, the all-Christian dependent upon the Lord for salvation role model, who apparently didn't practice safer sex.
Just because the story is about Julia Roberts' marriage, love for pale pink, diabetes, pregnancies, and death doesn't mean that she has the best role or is the best actress of the extremely well balanced cast of women.
The story takes place in a small Louisiana suburb with Dolly Parton's beauty shop serving as the place where all the eccentric women meet. It is a comic tragedy that all of the women cast deliver stellar performances throughout.
My favorite is Shirley MacLaine's character who's been "depressed for 40 over years." Her cunning wit really makes the show. Roberts is okay but I'm weary of women being portrayed as mortal victims whose children out live them and carry on. Daryl Hannah play perfectly pitiful perfectly.
Undoubtedly, however, Steel Magnolias is a classic. Especially if you like how at the very end Olympia Dukakis says, "bunny rabbit," in a southern accent! It's choice small bits of script like that which make this film a must see.