I found out what the secret to life is: friends. Best friends.Fried Green Tomatoes (1991); directed by Jon Avnet
Fried Green Tomatoes is one of my favorite movies of all time. As far as films go its got a little bit of something for everybody: adventure, romance, melodrama, and even a murder mystery! The secret’s in the sauce, or at least that’s what I’ve heard. It was made for a paltry sum of just $11 million, and while that’s quite a loot haul for the likes of Joe Schmoe on Main Street, for Hollywood that’s chump change. It grossed more than ten times that amount and proved once again that American audiences love a well-told Southern yarn, especially when the acting is as stellar as it is in Fried Green Tomatoes. I mean, talk about an embarrassment of riches, to have Kathy Bates, Jessica Tandy, and Mary-Louise Parker all in the same film—and as leads, no less!
And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:Ruth 1:16 (KJV)
One thing that was never discussed among my family members when we watched the film together is the lesbian love story at the heart of the film. Now mind you, the onscreen depiction is chaste, but anyone with eyes can clearly see the sparks that fly and the deep love that grows and endures between Idgie Threadgoode (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Ruth Jamison (Mary-Louise Parker). There are even none-too-subtle nods to a queer couple from the Bible itself: Naomi and Ruth. Now, I’m not interested in getting into a historical-theological debate with anyone regarding the canonically gay biblical couple, but perhaps any naysayers reading this would like to check out this excerpt from The Children Are Free: Reexamining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships.
The same-sex love story at the heart of the larger narrative is frequently straight-washed and written off as simply a superlative example of a great friendship, and it is a story of a great friendship, but it’s also the story of a marriage, one that never received the validation it deserved and was never allowed the public expression it warranted simply because the married people were both women. You can call it what you want but I will call it what it is: love. No one can rightfully condemn it.
The film won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film — Wide Release, as well as Oscar noms for Tandy and the adapted screenplay written by Fannie Flagg (who wrote the novel on which the film is based) and Carol Sobieski. There’s so much inside of it (both the film and its source material) to unpack for anyone willing to search it.
I know that I frequently use these “quotes posts” as jumping-off points for whatever tangent I feel like exploring that day, and I really appreciate those of you who are always willing to follow the bread crumbs with me. You have my love and sincerest thanks forever.
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