Friday, April 30, 2010

Fried Green Tomatoes - the book & the movie

Last week I finished reading Fannie Flagg's novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. We own the movie that was based on the book, yet I had never watched it since I always like to read the book first if I know that's where the movie idea originated. Yesterday Robbie and I watched the movie.

The book was written from several different perspectives. Some chapters were articles from the local newsletter of Whistle Stop, the small town where the Cafe is located. These chapters were all based during the depression. Other chapters from that time listed the location in the chapter title based on where the events were happening: Whistle Stop, Birmingham, Chicago. This story alternated with a story based in the 1980s where a middle-aged woman, Evelyn Couch, visits with an elderly woman each week. These chapters mainly consist of the elderly woman, Ninny Threadgoode, telling stories about Whistle Stop and the depression era. I enjoyed this style of writing because it allowed me to see the story from different viewpoints. The story based during the time of the depression centered on two women, Idgie Threadgoode and Ruth Jamison. While I enjoyed the story, I was extremely disappointed that theirs was a homosexual relationship. The story deals with a variety of other issues including southern life, racial discrimination, poverty, domestic abuse, murder, the KKK, friendship, loyalty, and love. The book is well paced and keeps the reader wondering what will happen next.

The movie, of course, didn't have nearly the detail that the book contained. However, I was pleased that the movie downplayed the homosexual part of Idgie and Ruth's relationship and portrayed it as more of a very strong friendship as was the bond that developed between Ninny and Evelyn. Several scenes eluded to the relationship being more, but I was relieved to see that there were no openly homosexual scenes.

I have to admit that I enjoyed the movie more than the book. (I said this to my little sister last night and she commented that it was the first time she had ever heard me say that the movie was better than the book!) Actually the book was better in the sense that there was more story, more characterization and more details, but the movie seemed more wholesome. I realize this is not a popular thing to say in our culture of openness and tolerance, but this is MY review of the book and movie after all.

There were several great scenes in the book that I thought the movie depicted wonderfully. My favorite is when Evelyn Couch is in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot. She has been waiting for a parking space for a while when two young girls zip into the space ahead of her. She complains as they get out of the car and they smirk, "Face it lady, we are younger and faster than you." Evelyn gets mad so she backs up and then rams their car - six times. When they come screaming out of the store, she calmly says, "Face it girls, I'm older and have more insurance." Hilarious scene.

BTW - I have never had green tomatoes, fried or otherwise.

1 comment:

Amy Sorensen said...

I saw this movie first, and then I read the book. I must have been clueless because I totally missed the homosexual clues in the movie. Only when I read the book, then went back to the movie did I see them, but you're right, they are subtle. I still loved the story though!