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"DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD"
(2002) (Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Mild Heavy Moderate None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy None Minor None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Moderate Extreme Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama/Comedy: After a woman and her adult daughter have another falling out, the woman's lifelong friends abduct the daughter in an effort to inform her about why her mother is the way she is.
PLOT:
Sidda Lee Walker (SANDRA BULLOCK) is a young New York City playwright who claims that much of her material stems from her troubled relationship with her colorful mother, Vivi (ELLEN BURSTYN), who still lives in Louisiana with her reserved husband of forty some years, Shep (JAMES GARNER).

An article in Time Magazine about Sidda's seemingly negative view of her mother becomes the last straw between the two, prompting them to get into battle of ignoring and slighting the other. Vivi's lifelong friends -- Teensy (FIONNULA FLANAGAN), Necie (SHIRLEY KNIGHT) and Caro (MAGGIE SMITH) who collectively make up the Ya-Ya sisterhood that they formed as kids backing the 1930s - finally have enough and kidnap Sidda and take her to a remote lakefront cabin.

There, they intend to show her why Vivi acts the way she does, and that begins with their homemade scrapbook, "The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood." From the various photos and letters in it, Sidda begins to learn about the four women's decades of friendship, including when her then young mother (ASHLEY JUDD) turned from a vivacious and outgoing woman - despite growing up in her own troubled family - into a neurotic and then psychotic mother.

As the woman continue in their quest to educate Sidda and eventually reunite her with her despondent mother, they also hope they can break the apparent family curse that's prevented Sidda from marrying her boyfriend, Connor McGill (ANGUS MacFADYEN), who joins Shep in watching from the sidelines as the ladies try to make things right.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Those who are fans of anyone in the cast, the source novel, or who are looking for a "chick flick" may just want to see it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For mature thematic elements, language, and brief sensuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • SANDRA BULLOCK plays a young playwright who blames her own problems with marital commitment on her mother and upbringing. She drinks some and briefly uses some strong profanity while trying to deal with her latest falling out with her mother.
  • ELLEN BURSTYN plays her overbearing and overly dramatic mother who's hurt by the magazine article. She then cuts off Sidda until her friends intervene. She uses some profanity.
  • FIONNULA FLANAGAN plays one of Vivi's more outspoken and lifelong friends who sets out to mend the problems between Vivi and Sidda. She uses some profanity and smokes.
  • MAGGIE SMITH plays another friend who drinks and is on oxygen most of the time.
  • SHIRLEY KNIGHT plays the fourth member of the Ya-Ya sisterhood who helps in the plan to reunite the mother and daughter. She uses some profanity.
  • JAMES GARNER plays Vivi's patient and long-suffering husband.
  • ASHLEY JUDD plays Vivi at a younger age, a woman who went from being vivacious to depressed, despondent and eventually psychotic as a mother and wife. She also smokes and uses some profanity.
  • ANGUS MacFADYEN plays Sidda's boyfriend who becomes increasingly fed up with her, her strained relationship with her mother, and her reluctance to get married to him because of that.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this drama/comedy that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 use of the "f' word, while various other expletives and colorful phrases are also used.

    A couple briefly makes out, a mother makes a sexual allegation about her husband and their daughter, several young women are seen in their bras (which they then remove while sitting on top of a convertible but we only see them from behind with a partial brief glimpse of a bare breast). Another is seen in her panties, some cleavage is present, and some classic artwork briefly shows male and female nudity.

    Various instances of tense family material are present, including mothers who terrorize/traumatize their children (such as one beating her kids with a belt while acting psychotic) and strained mother/daughter relationships, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes.

    Some behavior that's present might be enticing for some impressionable kids to imitate, while various characters smoke and/or drink (with a great deal more of the latter occurring) and some women use what they call a "date rape drug" to knock out and abduct their friend's adult daughter (as part of an intervention of sorts).

    Some kids are briefly seen being sick (vomit and soiled pajamas), while some angry and/or distraught characters throw and/or break things. If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Sidda comments that her mom drank and smoke too much in the past.
  • As the three women arrive at Vivi's, Necie states that she hopes it's not a real emergency since she only brought one bottle of vodka.
  • Vivi has a Bloody Mary while Caro also drinks. Vivi then complains to Teensy that ever since she (Teensy) stopped drinking, she stopped making sense.
  • Sidda says "Fix me a drink and hand me a Nebutal" in imitating what her mother would say and the other women state they told Vivi that they were going somewhere where there was no alcohol.
  • There's talk of Teensy joining "the triple A" (meaning AA).
  • Sidda, Necie, Teensy and Caro all have drinks in a restaurant (and Caro then crushes and sneaks what they refer to as a "date rape drug" into Sidda's drink - to knock her out so that they can abduct her). We then briefly see Sidda reacting to it.
  • Sidda takes a Bloody Mary from a table.
  • In a flashback, one of the women has vodka.
  • Caro has a Bloody Mary.
  • People drink at a party during a flashback scene where some of the young women drink from a shared flask.
  • In a flashback, one of the young women drinks.
  • Vivi has a drink.
  • Vivi has another drink, while there's wine on the table in front of Sidda and Vivi's three friends. We then see Caro pouring various used glasses of wine into hers in the kitchen, but Teensy then pours it down the sink.
  • Caro picks out a bottle of liquor.
  • Vivi drinks in a flashback.
  • Sidda says that the three friends should not have brought Vivi back home in the past because all she (Vivi) did in the past was drink until they left home, and then says the three friends should known since they were the ones mixing the drinks.
  • While making a deal with the Virgin Mary, Vivi states that she'll only drink once a week, and then amends that to once a day, if things work out for her.
  • We see a flashback to Vivi drinking.
  • Vivi has a drink.
  • In a flashback, young Sidda comes to Vivi with a cough, and so Vivi gives her what she thinks is a drink of water, but it turns out to be alcohol (Sidda reacts adversely to the taste).
  • Vivi drinks.
  • We hear that Vivi was taking some prescription pills that were supposed to wean her off alcohol, but ended up making/helping her go crazy.
  • As various people prepare to take rides in a biplane, young adult Vivi comments that Teensy is already high enough (but we don't know the exact context of that comment).
  • Shep has a beer.
  • When Sidda complains about diseases by holding each other's cut palms (during a "blood sister" initiation), one of the women states that the only disease that could survive in their bloodstream is alcoholism.
  • Connor and Shep have beer.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • The four young girls each take turns poking their own palms with a sharp knife so that they can do a "blood sisters" type of thing (by holding hands) and we briefly see a tiny bit of blood in Vivi's palm.
  • In a flashback, Vivi learns that her kids are sick in the middle of the night. She picks up one of the boys and sees defecation stains on the seat on his pajamas, one of the girls visibly vomits on Vivi's pajama top, another visibly vomits into the toilet, and Vivi steps down onto the soiled pajama bottoms on the floor.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some viewers might not like the young girls cutting their hands in a blood sister sort of ritual and referring to themselves as priestesses.
  • Sidda, Necie, Teensy and Caro all have drinks in a restaurant where they then sneak what they refer to as a "date rape drug" into Sidda's drink to knock her out so that they can abduct her.
  • A young boy in a flashback during the late '30s has a racist attitude toward a young black woman (calling her "nigger").
  • We hear that Vivi's mother was not nice to her and then see several scenes of that.
  • In a flashback, Vivi's father gives her a ring, a gift her mother doesn't approve of and she makes allegations that some fooling around occurred between the father and daughter (although they're apparently unfounded). The mother then removes that ring from Vivi's hand, prompting the father to call the mother, "You pathetic Catholic idiot."
  • We see in flashback that Vivi had a bad attitude toward her husband and kids (including beating and briefly abandoning the children and acting cold toward Shep), but much of that stemmed from her drinking, mental illness and/or the prescription drugs she was on.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • In a flashback and overwhelmed by all of her kids being sick (and her life not being what she wanted), Vivi has a bit of a breakdown.
  • Later, we see another flashback scene where Vivi (suffering from a breakdown and/or under the influence of prescription pills that have made her crazy) comes toward her kids who cower in fright. She then tells them to get out of the house and drags them out into the rain at night where she proceeds to take her young son's belt and then repeatedly hit him with it like a whip. Young Sidda tries to take it from her, but Vivi gets it back and continues with the beating on all three of them. A man finally shows up and holds her back so that the kids can escape.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "How badly I'm gonna f*ck up everybody's life," "Oh, sh*t," "Scared the sh*t out of her," "No sh*t," "Piece of sh*t," "She doesn't know sh*t," "Nobody knew sh*t back then," "That ungrateful bitch," "Knock her on her ass," "Underwear up your ass-crack," "What the hell /do you all think you're doing/is this?" "What in the hell?" "Nigger" (said by a young white boy to a young black woman), "You're such a baboon's ass," "Sure as hell," "You pathetic Catholic idiot" (what Vivi's father calls her mother in response to her allegations that Vivi and her father fooled around), "Nuts" (crazy), "Like hell we didn't," "Shut up," "What in Sam hell are you talking about?" "Your phone etiquette sucks," "I would have your ass," "I'll knock you into the middle of next week" (followed by "I'll kick your sorry ass on Thursday"), "I don't know what the hell she's so afraid of," "Screw (it) up," "Hell, yes" and "Homely ass."
  • The four young girls each take turns poking their own palms with a sharp knife so that they can do a "blood sisters" type of thing by holding hands and thus sharing their blood.
  • Sidda, Necie, Teensy and Caro all have drinks in a restaurant (where they then crush and sneak what they refer to as a "date rape drug" into Sidda's drink - to knock her out so that they can abduct her).
  • In a flashback, Sidda playfully feigns drowning in a lake so that she has to be rescued.
  • In a flashback, Vivi and one of the other girls throw their plates of food at and onto a boy with a racist attitude.
  • In a flashback, we see Vivi, Caro and Necie riding up on the back of a convertible (Teensy is driving) with their shirts open (showing their bras), and two of them (including Vivi) remove their bras (we see them from behind). When a police officer spots them and gives chase, they don't pull over.
  • Vivi gives Teensy "the finger" as they drive alongside each other (played for laughs on the viewer's part) and moments later mouths "f*ck off" to her.
  • The four women and Sidda each take turns poking their own palms with a sharp knife so that they can do a "blood sisters" type of thing (where they then hold hands, but we don't see any blood).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A minor bit of such music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word (with another that's visibly mouthed), 11 "s" words, 14 hells, 10 asses, 1 S.O.B., 14 uses of "G-damn," 11 of "Oh my God," 3 each of "God," "My God" and "Oh God," and 1 use each of "Christ," "For God's sakes," "God Forsaken," "Lord" and "Swear to God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • In the background of Sidda and Connor's place, we see a small replica of Michelangelo's David statue that shows male full frontal nudity. We also see Connor affectionately pat Sidda twice on her clothed butt (as they talk about something else).
  • Cora says, "I don't understand having those underwear up your ass-crack" (referring to Sidda, but we only see the front of her panties as she gets out of bed and puts on her pants).
  • Vivi shows cleavage in her bathing suit (while bent over) in a flashback where another of the young women wears a modest bikini.
  • A classic painting shows the side of a woman's bare breast as well as a child's bare rear, while another in the background also shows a bare breast.
  • In a flashback, Vivi and a young man passionately kiss.
  • In a flashback, we see some of the women in their bras. Moments later, in another scene, we see Vivi, Caro and Necie riding up on the back of a convertible (Teensy is driving) with their shirts open (showing their bras), and two of them (including Vivi) remove their bras (we see them from behind and thus see their bare backs as well as a glimpse of part of one's bare breast).
  • In a flashback, Vivi's father gives her a ring, a gift her mother doesn't approve of and she makes allegations that some fooling around occurred between the father and daughter, referring to it as a mortal sin (although they're apparently unfounded).
  • During a fight in a flashback, Vivi (as a young mother) makes some comments about Shep putting his hands on her (saying he better not) and he tells her not to worry.
  • It's somewhat implied that Vivi and Shep have sex, but we don't see anything.
  • Sidda shows a little cleavage.
  • SMOKING
  • Teensy smokes several times (as both a younger and older woman), while Vivi smokes several times in flashback and in the present (and we see a photo of her from the past holding a cigarette).
  • Sidda comments that her mom drank and smoke too much in the past.
  • While making a deal with the Virgin Mary, Vivi states that she'll smoke just once a day if things work out for her.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Sidda and her mother do not get along, and while some of this is played for laughs, we later learn why (as we see Vivi being mean and/or distant to Shep and their kids in the past). During this, Sidda proclaims that she's finished and done with her mother, while Vivi says "She's dead to me" (played for comedy). That said, we see that Sidda and her father have a good relationship and we also see that Sidda did have some good/fun times with her mother.
  • We also see/hear that Vivi and Shep don't have the perfect marriage (despite being married for more than 40 years) and are told that she moved out of their bedroom in the 1960s.
  • In a flashback, a young woman cries because she misses her family.
  • We hear that Vivi's mother was not nice to her and then see some scenes of that.
  • In a flashback, Vivi's father gives her a ring, a gift her mother doesn't approve of and she makes veiled allegations that some fooling around occurred between the father and daughter (although they're apparently unfounded).
  • Vivi and her siblings (as kids) hear their parents loudly arguing and fighting.
  • A distraught mother pounds on her husband's chest after getting bad news about a death in the family (we also see the sister to the deceased reacting to the news).
  • In a flashback, Sidda and her friends (as girls) hear Vivi and Shep loudly arguing and fighting.
  • In a flashback and overwhelmed by all of her kids being sick (and her life not being what she wanted), Vivi has a bit of a breakdown. She then goes to confession where she tells the priest that she's had thoughts of abandoning her husband and children. She then goes to a motel for several days without telling anyone of her whereabouts.
  • Later, we see another flashback scene where Vivi (suffering a breakdown and/or under the influence of prescription pills that have made her crazy) comes toward her kids who cower in fright. She then tells them to get out of the house and drags them out into the rain at night where she proceeds to take her young son's belt and then repeatedly hit him with it like a whip. Young Sidda tries to take it from her, but Vivi gets it back and continues with the beating on all three of them. A man finally shows up and holds her back so that they can escape.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Strained family dynamics and how parent/child relationships can affect the next generation when the child then becomes a parent.
  • Using "date rape" drugs on people to knock them out.
  • Caro mentions that it took her 25 years to realize that her husband was gay.
  • Knowing what one's parents were like at a younger age before the kids came along.
  • Longtime friendships.
  • Mental illness.
  • VIOLENCE
  • After reading the magazine article that mentions her in an unfavorable light, Vivi throws her mug into the wall where it shatters.
  • After talking to each other on the phone, Vivi thrashes her phone against the table and Sidda then does the same to hers (on a counter).
  • After a young white boy makes some disparaging remarks to a young black woman, young Vivi (in flashback) picks up her plate and throws it at him. One of the other young girls then does the same.
  • In a flashback, Vivi's father pushes her mother into a room to make her give a ring back to Vivi that she took moments earlier. After the father forces her hand open and is seemingly prepared to slap her, Vivi's mother throws the ring at Vivi.
  • A distraught mother pounds on her husband's chest after getting bad news about a death in the family.
  • In a flashback, Vivi throws a hot frying pan into the sink and then does the same with a drinking glass, causing the latter to shatter.
  • During a fight in a flashback, Vivi (as a young mother) makes some comments about Shep putting his hands on her (saying he better not) and he tells her not to worry. During this, she pushes at him and he grabs at her.
  • We see another flashback scene where Vivi (suffering a breakdown and/or under the influence of prescription pills that have made her crazy) comes toward her kids who cower in fright. She then tells them to get out of the house and drags them out into the rain at night where she proceeds to take her young son's belt and then repeatedly hit him with it like a whip. Young Sidda tries to take it from her, but Vivi gets it back and continues with the beating on all three of them. A man finally shows up and holds her back so that the kids can escape. Vivi falls to the ground and then kicks at that man but doesn't hit him.



  • Reviewed May 21, 2002 / Posted June 7, 2002

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