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Divine Secrets Of The Ya Ya Sisterhood
Warner Brothers
Official Site
Director: Callie Khouri
Producer: Bonnie Bruckheimer
Written by: Callie Khouri
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, Fionnula Flanagan, James Garner, Ashley Judd, Shirley Knight, Angus McFadyen, Maggie Smith

Rating: out of 5

Ah, yet another tale of life in the South. And what would it be without four aging Louisiana goddesses, dysfunction, redemption and a splash of

whiskey? Nothing less than the Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

Set mostly in small-town Cajun Louisiana between the 1930s and the present, the film is a tall tale of friendship and loyalty among a group of four childhood friends who in their youth initiate themselves into the playfully mystic Ya–Ya Sisterhood. Now in their twilight years, the three Ya– Yas—Teensy, Necie, and Caro, played by Flanagan, Knight, and Smith respectively—conspire to aid their ailing Ya– Ya, Vivi (Burstyn), who’s about to lose her daughter Sidda (Bullock) as a result of their inability to reconcile their difficult past.

The story begins when Sidda, a young, successful playwright, reveals more than she should during an interview with Time magazine. Having aired the family’s dirty laundry in America’s most public of venues sends Vivi into hysterics as yet unseen by the modern world. After one nasty phone call and several micro-volcanic acts of emotional vandalism, it seems that reconciliation may be at best impossible. Then come the Ya–Yas, Teensy, Necie, and Caro, with lilting, Jim Beam accents to charm and mend old wounds and new between Sidda, Vivi, and anyone who happened to fall in between.

As screenwriter and director, Khouri (Thelma And Louise) delivers the plot in flashbacks narrated by the Ya- Yas, each one revealing the history of the bittersweet relationship between Vivi and Sidda that so desperately needs repair. Ashley Judd is remarkable as the tortured, Young Vivi. She gracefully navigates her character through the complexities brought about by intermingling tides of frustration and grief, maternal love and the need for escape from the quotidian melancholy of a dissatisfied, small- town housewife.

I felt particularly comfortable with the strung-together witticisms that exist as dialogue, drawn to prominence with the Ya–Yas’ delicious leanings toward vulgarity.

Who can resist a group of smart-mouthed, Southern gentlewomen who lovingly threaten well-intentioned ass-beatings when any one of them suffers from ego expansion?

The strength of this film is its simplicity. It gets to the point as quickly and as humorously as possible, successfully walking the line between comedy and melodrama. The cast, an ensemble of renowned international actors, is another forte in this film. McFayden and Bullock compliment each other well, although Bullock seems upstaged by the rest of the cast. She is trés lovable nonetheless.

If you appreciate a heart-warming, feel-good flick, this enticing mix of personal tragedy, humor, and redemption will be difficult to resist. The gamut of human emotion appears in Divine Secrets Of The Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

Maria G. Rios


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