"Steel Magnolias" will always be one of the most beloved American plays. Written by Robert Harling, it's a textured portrait of the South and the grace and power of its women. It delivers some of the most memorable moments and has given the actresses who have brought it to life a playing field of wealth and emotion that jumps right out of Truvy's Beauty Salon.
Guided now by Queen Latifah in the role of the matriarch M'Lynn, this contemporary interpretation of the material stands up beautifully. The success of "Steel Magnolias" is dependent on the ensemble of cast iron women who must display the venerable strength, and maintain the fragility to tell this story.
Bringing together Jill Scott (as Truvy), Phylicia Rashad and Alfre Woodard to realize Caliree and Ouiser, and the ingenues Adepero Oduye and Condola Rashad (Phylicia's own real life daughter) to portray Annelle and Shelby, the Queen reigns over a stellar cast. Queen Latifah's M'Lynn is poised and vulnerable, classy and just. When her daughter Shelby loses her life after suffering kidney failure, the ladies depend on their deep sense of sorority to help her venture through.
That so much of the original text and moments from the very successful 1989 motion picture that starred Sally Field and Julia Roberts made their way into this version, is a wonderful complement - a testament to the art of the original play. It's very clear that the film makers, from the teleplay written by Sally Robinson and including the film's star and executive producer Queen Latifah, they all held great reverence for Harling's "Steel Magnolias."
This "Steel Magnolias" is worthy of becoming a reflection of this generation. It's full of heart and soul, joy and wit - mighty in its metal, with performances worthy of being relived again and again.
Available now on DVD for $22.99