Bright Blessings, film lovers!
This month, I decided to review another classic film- Steel Magnolias.
Some have not seen it, as it’s set in the 1980’s in Louisiana. The film is all about motherhood, the cycle of life, death, and birth, and the power of women to support one another no matter what. I have never met anybody who did not bawl like a baby while watching this film, and it is one of the finest films ever made.
It’s filled with big hair, snark, shade, charm, love, and laughs. You will fall in love with the Steel Magnolias- delicate like a flower, and as strong as steel!
Here is the link to a trailer you can watch:
The story follows the lives of lady friends who gather at the local beauty salon, ran by Truvy, played by the divine Dolly Parton. While it appears to be the story of Shelby, played by Julia Roberts, it turns out, it’s more about her mother, M’Lynn, played by Sally Field. She is the main representation of motherhood in this film, and she plays a mother who raises her daughter Shelby, helping with Shelby’s health issues, even after Shelby marries, moves out, and has a child of her own. Unfortunately, Shelby’s body could not handle the pregnancy, and she eventually dies even after exhaustive efforts to save her. M’Lynn even gives Shelby one of her own kidneys.
What is the mother goddess if not life giving? Whose body do we live upon, and it is the fruit of whose body that feeds us? Whose waters quench our thirst, and to whose body do we return when we die? Who takes care of our children after we are no longer alive to do so, continuing to nourish them?
The great mother goddess! M’Lynn is the perfect embodiment of the lifegiving, healing aspect of the great mother.
Truvy, too represents that. She has her own issues, as her husband is struggling with a case of the blahs after being unemployed. She never gives up on him even when he holes up at the house, and won’t go anyplace. Her son, too has teenage attitude issues, and she still loves him in his rebelliousness. It turns out, her devotion to them was not misplaced, and her believing in them shows by the end of the film, the men in Truvy’s life are men who make life better for everybody. They just needed the understanding and support while dealing with their problems. Thanks to Truvy, they came out if their struggles whole, and better than ever.
The eternal compassion and understanding of the great mother carries us. Truvy embodies this.
She further gives a second chance to the heartbroken Annelle, played by Darryl Hannah. Annelle is abandoned by her good-for-nothing husband who is on the lam from the law, and when she can’t rub two nickels together, Truvy gives her a job, and a chance at a new life. Her whole life seemed over before being taken in by Truvy, but like a phoenix rising from the ashes, everything begins again for Annelle, and she absolutely thrives.
Sometimes, the goddess takes a bad situation from us we have been holding onto, because we believe it is all we have. Once stripped of everything, we are given so much more than we ever imagined.
The comic duo of the film, Miss Clary and Miss Ouiser, played by Olympia Dukakis, and Shirley MacLaine bring the snark and shade, and keep everybody in stitches. The oldest ladies in the group, they are bound by adoptive sisterhood, and both jokingly verbally attack one another.
Initially, Ouiser is a miserable old hag who bitches constantly, and looks worse than she acts. Shelby plays matchmaker a second time in the film, this time bringing Ouiser back together with an old beau. Reluctant to give up her independence, Ouiser first INSISTS they are just friends, which is pure hogwash. Soonafter, Ousier becomes kinder, gentler, and significantly less irritable, and all because she is HAPPY. Clary remarks at one point, “Ouiser! You are in a good mood! Did you run over a small child on your way here?”
She was absent minded, careless, accident prone, and a pain to be around at times. She stressed over every little thing, and complained constantly. None of the ladies disowned Ouiser when she was at her worst. Truthfully, her worst was not THAT bad, but she WAS difficult to deal with.
The goddess in her wrathful form is only such for reason. She has a benevolent aspect as well, Ouiser shows both sides.
Like the goddesses destructive side can clear the way for the good to come, Ouiser’s dark irritability causes her to snap at Annelle and drag the truth of her situation out of her. Had Annelle not spilled the facts, the ladies would not have known to immediately band together to lift up Annelle in her struggles. Ouiser also shows the fact the goddess needs the love and companionship of others to be her best self. Her friends as well as her new beau embrace her eccentricities, and while they joke with her about it, reminding her she’s got that mean streak she needs to keep in check, they give her the love and support she needs to be her best so she can love and support others as well.
Clary is a rich older lady, and uses it to put herself in positions to benefit her community. She is a testament to the goddesses generosity, and like the goddess smiles upon her children, so did Clary.
There’s not things in the way of mysticism or lore in the film, but the magic of women channeling their inner goddesses to make their lives and the lives of their loved ones wonderful is the lesson this film has for us.
This film deals with the joys of new life through children, the pain of loss when they die, and the new hope new life brings.
Don’t take my word for how amazing this film is. See it for yourself.
Happy film viewing.
About the Author:
Saoirse is a recovered Catholic. I was called to the Old Ways at age 11, but I thought I was just fascinated with folklore. At age 19, I was called again, but I thought I was just a history buff, and could not explain the soul yearnings I got when I saw images of the Standing Stones in the Motherland. At age 29, I crossed over into New Age studies, and finally Wicca a couple years later. My name is Saoirse, pronounced like (Sare) and (Shah) Gaelic for freedom. The gods I serve are Odin and Nerthus. I speak with Freyja , Norder, and Thunor as well. The Bawon has been with me since I was a small child, and Rangda has been with me since the days I was still Catholic. I received my 0 and 1 Degree in an Eclectic Wiccan tradition, and my Elder is Lord Shadow. We practice in Columbus, Ohio. I am currently focusing more on my personal growth, and working towards a Second and Third Degree with Shadow. I received a writing degree from Otterbein University back in 2000. I have written arts columns for the s Council in Westerville. I give private tarot readings and can be reached through my Facebook page Tarot with Saoirse. You can, also, join me on my Youtube Channel.