Steel Magnolias Remake: Good but not the original

Last night, Lifetime debut its highly anticipated remake of the 1989 classic, Steel Magnolias. As some have called it the ‘African American’ version, whatever version you choose to call it, it was an overall good remake. Yes all the main characters were represented and portrayed by some of the best African American actresses, but the script and plot remained intact which what I am most grateful.

The plot of the movie was exactly the same and even for this girl who can recite the movie word-for-word was able to do just that. There were minor changes to the script to make it more modern and up to date. The use of SUV’s, cell phones, mentioning of Emails, and even the dance ‘The Wobble’ at the reception was some of the modern day touches added. There was one curve ball that I have yet to figure out is Owen Jenkins, Weezer’s love interest. Everyone in the remake was African American except his character. Though it’s not a huge deal, leaving his character white it did make me scratch my head in confusion.

The cast of ladies which are all great actresses each played to their role well, although some better than others. Queen Latifah leads the cast as M’lynn and did a great job capturing the role that Sally Field originally played. Latifah as M’lynn was believable for me until the crucial part of the break down after Shelby’s death. It seemed a bit lack luster to me and not as capturing as Fields’ version.  Though don’t get me wrong, I was still crying by this point. My two favorite characters in the original and this version is hands down Clairee and “Weezer”. Last night’s remake was no exception. Phylicia Rashad as Clairee was an awesome choice by directors. Alfre Woodard, who is becoming one of my favorite actresses, played ‘Weezer’ who happens to be my favorite character in the movie. Both ladies did a phenomenal job portraying these characters. Their delivery of the jokes and mannerisms were on point. You can always find me quoting Weezer’s one liners and last night’s version didn’t disappoint. Some of my favorite lines from Weezer and Clairee:

  • The only reason people are nice to me is because I have more money than God.
  • Weezer, you sound almost chipper. What happened today – you run over a small child or something?
  • He is a boil on the butt of humanity!
  • Don’t try to get on my good side, Truvy. I no longer have one!
  • Oh! Well don’t you expect me to come to one of your churches or one of those tent-revivals with all those Bible-beaters doin’ God-only-knows-what! They’d probably make me eat a live chicken!

The other main characters in the remake were good but not capturing. Jill Scott as Truvvy was a bit of a letdown and not on her part, but more so on the direction of the film a lot of her lines and appearances were cut from the original. My overall discontent with the movie was the flow or choppiness of it. They cut a lot of scenes from the original and mainly just focused on the wedding and then the death of Shelby. I found it kind of choppy. The ending was a bit abrupt as well.

The fact of the matter is that the new version Lifetime premiered was a good remake. I enjoyed it and got my good cry in. Further proving that the story of Steel Magnolias is unaffected by new casting or race changes because at the end of the day it is just a good movie that anyone and everyone can enjoy. It is one of those movies that will never fade. I think that is why I am sort of grateful for lifetime for remaking it and modernizing it so that younger generations can come to appreciate the movie. Though the remake was good, nothing will ever compare to the original. Period.