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Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (1991, Kathy Bates, Mary-Louise Parker)

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‘Celebrating the crucial, sustaining friendships between two sets of modern-day and 1930s Southern femmes, pic emerges as absorbing and life-affirming quality fare’, wrote Variety of charming and gentle feminist comedy-drama Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

Fannie Flagg and Carol Sobiesky vividly adapted the former’s Pulitzer Prize-nominated 1987 novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and Kathy Bates was perfectly cast as overweight, repressed housewife Evelyn Couch who is befriended by quirky octogenarian Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy) while visiting a cantankerous aunt in an convalescent home in Birmingham, Alabama and who listens to her tales about her nearby home town, Whistle Stop.

In the Thirties, proto-feminist Idgie Threadgoode (Mary Stuart Masterson) owns and runs the local cafe, still traumatized by the death years before of her beloved older brother, killed by a train. She builds a friendship with God-fearing Ruth Jameson (Mary-Louise Parker) who subsequently marries and moves to Georgia but she is abused by her husband until Idgie rescues her. The pair move into the café with Idgie’s baby. When her husband comes for his son,there’s a confrontation and years later, his empty truck is found in a lake. Idgie and handyman George (Stan Shaw) stand trial for murder but are aquitted and, as Ninny’s tales end, Evelyn finds she has undergone a transformation, booth physically and mentally and asks Ninny to leave the home to live with her

Producer-turned-director Jon Avnet made a memorable feature film directing debut and, said Sight and Sound , ‘whisks us through the tragedies and joys with a quick, manipulative hand’. Said Avnet: ‘the strength of Fried Green Tomatoes is that its core is the art of storytelling. And as anyone knows, what makes a movie good is its ability to, quite simply, tell a story’.

production details
USA / 130 minutes / 1991

Director: Jon Avnet
Writers: Fannie Flagg, Carol Sobiesky, from the novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg,

cast
Kathy Bates as Evelyn Couch
Mary-Louise Parker as Ruth Jamison
Jessica Tandy as Ninny Threadgoode
Cicely Tyson as Sipsey
Mary Stuart Masterson as Idgie Threadgoode
Chris O’Donnell as Buddy Threadgoode
Stan Shaw as Big George
Gailard Sartain as Ed Couch
Timothy Scott as Smokey Lonesome
Gary Basaraba as Grady Kilgore
Lois Smith as Mama Threadgoode
Jo Harvey Allen as Woman’s Awareness Teacher
Fannie Flagg as Teacher
Suzi Bass as nurse
Tom Even as Judge
Afton Smith as Leona Threadgoode
Haynes Brooke as Older Julian Threadgoode
Wallace Merck as KKK Man
Richard Riehle as Reverend Scroggins
Constance Shulman as Missy
Nick Searcy as Frank Bennett

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