A female-bonding story adapted from the play by Robert Harling and based around the lives of six women who regularly get together in a Louisiana beauty parlour to discuss their lives and the men that invade them. Shelby (Julia Roberts) is the youngest of the group and despite suffering from severe diabetes, plans her wedding and then the birth of her first child like any other newly-wed. Ouiser (Shirley Maclaine) is a bitter divorcee, while Truvy (Dolly Parton) is the sexy, sassy hairdresser.
Based on Robert Harling's play and directed by Herbert Ross, Steel Magnolias
is a comedy-drama that follows several years in the lives of women who regularly see one another at a beauty shop in their small Louisiana hometown. The story deepens as Julia Roberts, playing a serious diabetic and the daughter of Sally Field, goes downhill healthwise. But as an ensemble piece, this is one of those enjoyably lumpy tearjerkers with many years' worth of stored truths suddenly being shared between the characters, lots of grievances aired, that sort of thing. Daryl Hannah and Shirley MacLaine assume the most eccentric roles, Dolly Parton the most fun and Olympia Dukakis the most dignified, while Sally Field essentially provides the moral and emotional centre of the movie. --Tom Keogh, Amazon.com