Critic Reviews



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Fried Green Tomatoes is fairly predictable, and the flashback structure is a distraction, but the strength of the performances overcomes the problems of the structure. I especially liked Mary Stuart Masterson's work, but then I nearly always do (see her in Some Kind of Wonderful). And I enjoyed the vigor with which Jessica Tandy told her long-ago tale, about a woman not completely unlike herself.
Fried Green Tomatoes is an engaging if sentimental tale, charmingly handled by producer-turned-director Jon Avnet (Risky Business) and flawlessly acted by its four female stars. Plaudits must also go to Geoffrey Simpson, for his splendid cinematography, and to Thomas Newman for his drama-enhancing musical score.
Based on a novel by Fannie Flagg, the comedian, and directed by Jon Avnet, Fried Green Tomatoes has some good performances and a measure of homespun appeal, some of which can be credited to Elizabeth McBride's gently evocative costumes and Barbara Ling's detailed production design.
Celebrating the crucial, sustaining friendships between two sets of modern-day and 1930s Southern femmes, pic [based on Fanny Flagg’s novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe] emerges as absorbing and life-affirming quality fare, but for a story celebrating fearlessness, it’s remarkably cautious.
While Fried Green Tomatoes often veers between being too pat and too vague, too obvious and too unclear, too much of the “I laughed, I cried” school of storytelling -- it still has a charm that stems from its vivid and unique characterizations.
It's all over the place, trying to cover every base as it delivers its neon-style message: Nothing is more important than friendship. Indeed, it's so busy pushing buttons that it rarely has time to settle down to establish even one relationship that rings true - by and large, we have to take the actors' word for it - yet fans of this cast probably won't mind too much.
The tale from the past is very nostalgic, heartwarming and mouth-watering and all, as Idgie and Ruth cook up a storm, are kindly to their black domestics and stand up to piggy men while events fitfully progress to a courtroom climax. And Masterson is a peach. But the best bits belong to Bates as her dreary Evelyn raises her consciousness, lowers her weight and starts speaking her mind. It's a nice, pleasant celebration of friendship, but without much meat to chew on.
Time Out London
While the book deftly juggles separate narratives, the device proves clumsy on screen. More dizzying than the jumps between past and present is the speed with which consciousness-raised Evelyn swaps caricatures, evolving from Frump to Fighter. Essentially, the film is about fine performances - with Tandy securing an Oscar nomination - but it wins no prizes for subtlety.
Washington Post
A drama about strong, giving, funny women, Fried Green Tomatoes seems plucked from the same patch as the play-turned-movie Steel Magnolias. It's not exactly a successful hybrid, but you could get a craving for it anyway.
It's meant to be uplifting, but the material is so undernourished that bench-pressing a phone book already seems beyond it. None of the characters has been filled out beyond the underlying conventions and the few distinctive mannerisms contributed by the actresses who portray them.

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