Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)


Fried Green TomatoesFried Green Tomatoes is a movie depicting the classic themes of female friendship, standing up for yourself, and inadvertent cannibalism.

Kathy Bates plays Evelyn Couch, an unhappy housewife who regularly accompanies her disinterested husband to the nursing home to visit his aunt. Evelyn isn’t allowed in the aunt’s room on these visits because the aunt doesn’t like her. (Maybe she saw Misery and would rather Kathy Bates stay away from her.) While waiting, Evelyn meets Ninny (Jessica Tandy), who is in the home temporarily.


Over the course of the weekly visits, Ninny tells Evelyn the story of her relative, Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson). Idgie is a tomboy, sparkplug who grew up in Whistle Stop, Alabama, in the 1920s. She develops a close friendship with Ruth, who had been Idgie’s brother’s girlfriend until he was hit by a train and killed. When Ruth (Mary Louise Parker) takes her son and leaves her abusive husband, Frank, the pair open the Whistle Stop Cafe. The two raise Ruth’s son, Buddy, Jr., and the movie doesn’t explicitly say it, but they were likely in a relationship.

Idgie and Ruth have hired Sipsey, the black woman who raised Idgie, and her son, Big George, to work at the cafe. Though his barbecue is a crowd pleaser, the folks round those parts don’t take too kindly to it when Idgie and Ruth allow Big George to actually eat the food he cooked in the place where he works.

Ninny (Jessica Tandy) tells Evelyn (Kathy Bates) stories of people from her past   Ruth (Mary Louise Parker) and Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson) at the Whistle Stop Cafe   Big George cooking at the Whistle Stop Cafe

When Ruth’s drunk ex-husband comes back looking to take their son, he winds up missing. The angry locals point the finger at Big George, but Idgie won’t let him take the fall. A trial is held, and it is ruled that the drunk probably just got himself killed. Everyone is cleared of the charges.

Unless that charge was actually that Sipsey killed Frank, and Big George served him to the sheriff as a big, heaping plate of barbecue. Because that definitely happened.

But it’s not happily ever after for the people who live in the flashback part of this movie. Ruth dies of cancer, and the Whistle Stop Cafe closes.

Sipsey working at the Whistle Stop Cafe   Ruth and Idgie   Evelyn brings Ninny some fried green tomatoes

In the non-flashback times, Evelyn discovers that Ninny’s home has been demolished while she was in the nursing home, and she offers Ninny a room in her home. Yay, friendship! Ninny’s stories also helped Evelyn become more independent and assert herself more with her husband.

We also learn that Ninny might actually be Idgie from the flashbacks, when we see a jar of honey placed on Ruth’s grave with a note signed "The Bee Charmer," which was Ruth’s nickname for Idgie.

Watch the trailer for Fried Green Tomatoes.


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