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Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

Starring: Ellen Burstyn, Ashley Judd, Sandra Bullock, Maggie Smith, Shirley Night Fionnula Flanagan and James Garner
Directed by: Callie Khouri
Rated: PG13


Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is a brilliant and touching masterpiece. It's magical! The stars shimmer and glisten as the touching tale unfolds delightfully before you. Based upon Rebecca Wells' best-selling novel the cast and director (Callie Khouri- screenwriter of Thelma and Louise) seamlessly and effortlessly bring you by far one of the best films all year.

The Ya-Ya Sisterhood is an invention of Vivi (played by both Ellen Burstyn -twilight years Vivi and Ashley Judd - thirty something Vivi). During her troubled childhood she and three of her closest friends Teensie , Caro and Cecie gather deep in the woods and create a haven for themselves built on secretes, friendship and fun. On the official night when they ordain each other they sport artistic hats and take on Ya-Ya names like Queen Dancing Creek or Princess Naked as a Jaybird; names as flamboyant as the girls themselves.

That night they also take solemn oaths to defend each other and always be there for each other through their days. The YaYas slice their palms and mix their blood dance about wildly, harmless bonding.

The girls grow into women and remember their oaths remaining close friends as they have their own families. They also remain eccentric and as life loving as can be.

When YaYa Queen Vivi's daughter Siddalee (Sandra Bullock), now a famous playwright is interviewed by Time magazine and scratches open some deep past wounds between herself and her YaYa mom, Vivi promptly (and hysterically) disowns her.

The two start a silly and mean spirited war against each other that has the other three YaYas adjourning for an emergency session. Cecie (Shirley Knight), Caro (Maggie Smith) and Teensie (Fionnula Flanagan) decide they simply must intervene and save this strained relationship once and for all.

They abduct Siddi and drag her down south (home) to show her the Ya-Ya's secret book of the sisterhood. As they flip through the books sacred pages, milling through old photos of her mother and themselves, they unlock many doors to her past and reveal the truths about and behind her mother's often confusing reactions. They also explain some sad truths about Vivi and help reshape Siddi's own troubled childhood and her perceptions.

Sounds a bit heavy and dramatic? It is except that the past pains and family traumas are told with such elegance and genuine humor you'll be in tears of laughter for the first half of the film and tears of sadness and discovery the last half of the film but never left depressed. Not for a moment.

DSOFYYS is so honest and sincere you may just leave wondering how many secrets your mother has/had hung up in her quiet little closet; after all what are mothers but women with children.

Okay enough of the story….who's this Angus MacFadyen fellow playing Sidda's boy toy/fiancé Connor? He's a Sheppard's Pie of a manly man; each portion he delivered getting tastier. He pure mounds of yum mixed ever so delicately with a Scottish accent! Blue stars green clovers and yellow Angus shaped marshmallow stars in my mornin' cereal please....oh, wait Lucky Charms is Irish huh?

Each member of the ensemble female cast was glowing like a 20,000-volt bulb! For sure Ellen Burstyn will be up for many an award with her incredible mutli-layered performance!

Ashley Judd may well be along side Ellen in the Best Actress categories next spring after her spectacular bit in a particularly in a hard-to-pull-off-but-she-does-with-ease scene involving nothing more than a mirror and her unmade face. Ash ignites the screen with inner turmoil and anguish written all across her descriptive beautifully contorted believable face.

Sandra Bullock, perhaps, if a mega-star is willing, she could snag the best supporting actress? Sandy often gets roles we think we should see her in. Here she isn't the focus and she isn't the 'star' but she proves to any who think she's all fluff and twinkles she can act!

Maggie Smith stole every scene she graced. I have not seen her this relaxed before. The old Michael Palin comedy The Missionary didn't even unruffled her petticoat so much.

To the younger actors appearing, wonderfully, as the Ya-Ya girls I apologize for not mentioning your names…but I had no press kit and was u able to locate a single droplet of information.

The direction by Callie Khouri is perfect. She allows these tremendous talents to indulge in their roles and have fun under the high emotions. Bravo to "an all girl production" for bringing this tale properly to the big screen.

You must peruse the official website filled with recipes and cocktails mixin' ideas there's even a place to get your own adorable Ya-Ya name….what's mine? Queen Had-It-Up-To-Here….how apropos no? Official site

Snack Recommendation: Brunwich Stew and Natchez Slow Gin Fizzy

The Emilyism©


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