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A relationship drama that entertains and provokes.

"Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood" is a charming, touching, funny, and thought-provoking movie, containing the perfect blend for a very "feel good" entertainer and delivering a good message on family love and togetherness. The movie analyses the past and present relationship of a mother and daughter, and the trials their love has faced over the years.

Sidda Lee Walker (Sandra Bullock) is a successful playwright residing in New York. She is about to get married to her boyfriend of seven years, Connor (Angus MacFayden), she has earned quite a fair reputation in her career, she lives away from her father Shep (James Garner) and, most importantly, her mother, Vivi (Ellen Burstyn), who live in Louisiana. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when she is misquoted in an interview in "Time" magazine, upsetting her mother and thus causing a rift between them.

This fight lasts for a while, until it gets to a point of nearly wrecking her marriage. That is when Vivi's childhood friends, "the Ya Ya Sisterhood", comprising of Teensy (Fionnula Flanagan), Necie (Shirley Night) and Caro (Maggie Smith), decide to take matters into their own hands, and try and patch up the broken relationship. When they are initially met with an unwelcome response, they take to extreme measures, by "kidnapping" Sidda Lee and taking her back to her hometown. In Louisiana, they reveal to her a book named "Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood", which they believe will help her understand the true nature of her mother, and the reason why she is what she is today.

The storyline is quite unique and interesting, and the movie, comprising mainly of flashbacks, does manage to flow quite well, with no broken links. The screenplay is fairly simple and humourous, and does keep the viewer entertained with rib-tickling humour, evenly balanced out with thought-provoking emotional scenes. What I found quite impressive, was that the movie was very well-paced. It did not drag in any place, and captures your interest throughout.

What I loved most about the movie, though, was the brilliant acting. In my opinion, all the actors played their part to near perfection, and every character portrayal in the movie was impressive. I was especially very impressed with both Ellen Burstyn and Ashley Judd's portrayals of the old and young Vivi respectively. The director, who has also directed the acclaimed "Thelma and Louise", lives up to her reputation, and does a very good job.

This movie is a worthwhile watch for those who like drama. Although it is mainly a movie for the ladies, it caters to all audiences with its simplicity, humour, charm, and very interesting storyline.

This article was first published on 30 Apr 2003.