Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

MPAA Rated – PG-13
It’s 1:57 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, Ashley Judd, Maggie Smith, James Garner, Fionnula Flanagan, Shirley Knight, Angus Macfadyen
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Warner Bros.
Release Date: 2002
Kiddie Movie: It’s an adult story, and gets a little hairy at times. Leave them home.
Date Movie: She’ll make you go along.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah, but Sandra gets in her undies and Ashley has a nice nightgown.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Quite a few one-liners.
Memorable Scene: The beginning scenes where Vivi develops her desire to disown Sidda.
Memorable Quote: Too many to list.
Directed By: Callie Khouri

Alright, go ahead and slap a dress on me. Why? Because I must be a girl because I really liked “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” Yes, it’s a chick flick; Yes, of an audience of about 60 people there were maybe six guys; And yes, the group of blue-hairs that got there before me, getting the good seats, thought the movie was “incredible” and “enjoyable.” And if you ever got a kick of listening to older ladies bickering amongst themselves, or even younger ladies doing the same, yet knowing they are the best of friends, you will probably like this movie, too.

I’ll try to give the synopsis without giving too much away…

It’s the late 1930’s and a group of four girls go into the woods, forming the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. They seal it with blood. As the years go on, these four girls remain the best of friends, doing whatever it takes to help each other. Now it’s the present day and Sidda (Sandra Bullock), the daughter of Vivi (older as Ellen Burstyn, younger as Ashley Judd, and still younger as Caitlin Wachs), has given an interview to Time magazine, basically portraying her mother as an obnoxious mother who drank too much. Vivi doesn’t take it well, Sidda is more like her mother than she wants to admit, and it’s up to the other three Ya-Yas to get Sidda and Vivi back together.

So the other three Ya-Yas, Teensy (Fionnula Flanagan), Necie (Shirley Knight), and Caro (Maggie Smith), head to New York to kidnap Sidda, actually using the date-rape drug, even enlisting the help of Sidda’s fiancé, Connor (Angus Macfadyen), and bring Sidda back to Louisiana. Their plan: Let Sidda see that her mother isn’t such a bad person by making her look through the Ya-Ya scrapbook, aptly titled “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood”, and listen to stories of the four of them growing up (shown as flashbacks utilizing the always gorgeous Ashley Judd as the twenty to thirty something Vivi). Meanwhile the three of them also work on Vivi to show her why Sidda sees her the way she does. Maybe this insight will help Sidda forgive her mother, help Vivi see why Sidda feels the way she does, and then they’ll be the best of friends. Let’s toss in James Garner as Shep, Vivi’s husband who took the marriage oath and is standing by it no matter how much of a loony his wife tends to be. And that’s enough of the story.

What works in “Ya-Ya” are the likes of Flanagan, Knight, Smith, and Burstyn, as well as Sandra Bullock playing the daughter whose underlying fear is she doesn’t want to end up as her perception of her mother. The problem is that the daughter doesn’t always know the whole story, or sometimes doesn’t want to believe it, and it takes friends to put things in perspective. The four ladies show what it is like to be friends forever, fighting and bickering amongst themselves yet ready to help each other at the drop of a hat. You’ve also got the daughter showing how we, as children and grown-ups, want to know how our parents lived before they were parents, but in the end are we ready to know the real lives of our mom and dad?

The movie just cracked me up because although I don’t know four older ladies as devoted to each other as the Ya-Yas, I’ve seen my fair share of older ladies goading each other, and hell, I’ve seen my share of younger ladies doing the same. Yet in there is a bond that can’t be broken. Dudes have that bond, dudettes have that bond, and sometimes that bond exists between the sexes, but in the end it’s always good to have friends.

Flanagan, Knight, Smith and Burstyn were fabulous. Bullock is always one of my favorites, and Ashley Judd does a great job portraying the younger Vivi who, try as she might, doesn’t know if she’s being a good mom or not. Macfadyen as Connor ads that “fiancé just trying to get mother and daughter back together” role, and Garner plays that “husband who just excepts things as they are because he will always love his wife” role perfectly.

So, yes, I really liked “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood,” and I’m one enough with my manly self to even admit it. Hell, Bullock and Judd even kept their clothes on and I still liked this movie and that’s got to say something (although you do get a nice shot of Sandra in her underwear and Judd in an almost see-through nightgown). Yes, it is overblown and unrealistic in many aspects, but takes things to a level it is humorous. Granted, if you’re a beer-drinking, pizza-eating kind of guy, you probably won’t be caught dead in the theater for this movie, but if you ever got a kick of your grandma and her friends telling stories, you might just enjoy it. In the end it’s 4 stars out of 5 for this one. Sure, it gets a little cookie-cutter by the time the movie finishes, but it’s still fun.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!