Kathy Bates and Jessica Tandy act in a movie about two women, Evelyn and Ninny, who meet in an Alabama nursing home. Evelyn is a unhappy housewife and finds solace and inspiration in the stories Ninny tells. The movie progresses through stories that Ninny shares of Idgie’s experiences growing up with her best friend Ruth. From losing family members and friends to surviving abusive relationships, Idgie was able to make a new life with new people and a new restaurant. At the climax of the movie, Frank the abuser was found dead and all fingers pointed to Idgie and her cook, Big George. With support of the community, charges were dropped. By the end, Evelyn and Ninny moved in together and shared a similiar life changing story of overcoming lifes obstacles.
The entire movie was made up of small ethical issues that centralized around the theme of what’s right and what’s legal. Small situations like Evelyn ramming her vehicle into a car that overtook her parking spot was an emotional justification but definitely an illegal action. Because the bias of the movie leaned towards our star actresses who by the way created a smiling moment from the depths of despair, it was hard to argue that their actions were nothing more than justified. Two major ethical dilemmas did stick out for me and it was the death of Frank and the lesbian love shared between Idgie and Ruth.
Frank’s was a low life drunk who beat on Ruth, Idgie’s best friend. In one scene, Ruth was trying to leave Frank and the home they lived in. Idgie and Big George helped her escape his threshold but only after Frank got a few shots in on both Idgie and Ruth. After the move out, Frank popped back into the movie while attempting to kid nap Buddy Jr. The following scenes was a dead frank and his truck at the bottom of a lake. After court litigation, Big George and Idgie were found innocent by the judge after a minister provided the alibi for their whereabouts during the incident. The truth of the matter is that Sipsey, a chef at Ruth’s restaurant, killed frank with an iron skillet. The dilemma here is murder. Is it truly justified? On one end of the spectrum, Frank may have been a sick man in need of help. During those times though there was little opportunity for reformation and justice seemed to settle itself until the officials caught wind of murder. At the other end, the movie perspective, Frank was a bad guy and deserved to die, thus the minister lying and Sypsey’s murderous actions, can all be chalked up to “he got what was coming to him”. The dilemma that stands here is if murder can justify a bad person’s actions and can any person deliver this judgement.
The next major dilemma, which is more of an issue in those times than now, is the lesbian love shared between Ruth and Idgie. This is an issue that was researched beyond the movie and correlates with the novel which the movie is based on. In the movie these two best friends shared a life that could be a dreamy romance if it was a man and woman. Idgie, the tomboy, saves Ruth, the pregnant and abused, from her former life and starts a new life in a new place with a successful business. The archnemesis rolls into town and the love that these two friends have for each other prevails and even the court system can not separate them. The real dilemma here is that the movie only shows hints of this lesbian tale while the novel makes it an obvious situation. The movie in itself thus becomes the ethical dilemma. The producers and writers changed the story to accomodate the 1990s appeal and viewers. The dilemma is an ongoing one to this day, where two people of the same sex can share what a “traditional” couple shares. The movie follows Evelyn’s mundane marriage and mirrors it to the exciting deep friendship of Idgie and Ruth. Watching the movie, viewers would probably be more inclined to follow the exciting life of two woman friends than figure out the unworkings of marriage.
In the case of the virtues of murder, the characters in this movie mostly saw it fit that Frank was killed. On top of that they were more than compliant to have the community defend their position namely a religious figure, a minister. They were incahoots and in short, every viewer (with me) was too. The characters commited no fallacy in this dilemma. Frank deserved death and although most prefered a slow and painful death, murder by skillet was fine by them. In the case of lesbianism, the movie itself portrayed it in a subtle way while the novel openly involved Ruth and Idgie. The characters did not fully envelop this love bond between friends but it also did not deny that there could be something there. The fallacy here is the appeal to probability. Directors did not stage lesbian love in the movie as strongly as written in the novel because there was a probablity that it would receive bad reviews and movie mark ups. The truth is that the movie was still highly supported by the gay and lesbian community and revered as an oscar winner.
Personally, I find that Frank’s death was justified. I am a true believer of what comes around goes around. In those days how can a white male be prosecuted in the south for beating his wife? No judge would clear this and It was probably a work of God (through friends) that Idgie and Big George were freed from the charges. Frank was an evil man and his actions spoke of it. Since times are different now, if this case were to pop up, I’d definitely be attracted to the condition of reformation. I dont think people should die, instead I think that there should be an opportunity for redemption. The only problem is that this opportunity is not around every corner. For the time being, I am content with justice serving itself through the righteous and good. In terms of the lesbian issue, I am prideful of my aunties who live in this genre, and I was appauled (although not totally surprised) to learn that the essence of the book was shaped to fit the viewers. In a way though, I was happy to find that they did not reject the idea of a true love between Ruth and Idgie, and it made the movie less convoluted with all the other ethical issues going on. I think friendship breeds love and that love can grow to infinite level regardless of race,sex, or creed.
I recommend this movie to any Modular Blogger!