Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: -3

Sandra Bullock stars as budding playwright Siddalee Walker in this story that spans sixty years. Sidda tells a reporter about her eccentric Southern mother, Vivi Abbott Walker (Ellen Burstyn), who inspires her writings. However, Vivis life-long friends, who as children formed the secret Ya-Ya sisterhood, decide its time to let Sidda learn the truth about Vivi. Led by Caro (Maggie Smith), Teensy (Fionnula Flanagan) and Necie (Shirley Knight) kidnap Sidda and reveal the reasons behind events Sidda saw through a childs eyes. Although Vivi is not happy about what her friends have done, she knows they wont let her interfere. Meanwhile Connor (Angus MacFadyen), Siddas level-head fianc of seven years, meets Vivi for the first time and discovers why Sidda acts the way she does. James Garner plays Vivis long-suffering husband, while Ashley Judd plays the younger Vivi in flashback scenes. Mothers and daughters will particularly enjoy this tale of friendship, estrangement, reconciliation, and love.

Ya-Ya, a colloquial expression for talk, is something these aging Southern belles do frequently. The wry comments are often humorous, but the dialogue is also laced with numerous obscenities, crude terms and Gods name used in vain. Violence is limited, but some will cringe when Vivi takes a belt to her children. Vivi and her friends are often shown imbibing alcohol and, in flashbacks, Vivi drinks to excess. However, her drinking and drunkenness are not condoned. While some negative effects of drinking are shown and Sidda often comments about the constant alcohol use, the habit seems almost justified by others. Connor and Sidda live together but sexual content is suggestive rather than blatant. In one flashback, the four friends take a topless drive on a hot night, but no explicit nudity is shown. As a teen, Vivi stands up for a black maid when a cousin reflects the historical bigotry by using the N-word. Although the sisterhood rituals seen at the first of the film seem somewhat occultic, they are in the vein of childrens make believe. Another scene shows Vivis father demeaning her mothers Catholic faith when she mistakenly believes an expensive gift implies incest. However, Vivi is shown praying to Mary and asking to pass the message to her Son and His Father. Despite the positive messages about friendship and reconciliation, DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD suffers from too much vulgar ya-ya.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Warner Bros., 400 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (22) times Mild 10, other 12

Obscene Language: Many (12) times F-word 1 (also mouthed once not heard), s-word 11, finger gesture 1

Profanity: Many (31) times Regular 18 (GD 14, G 2, Swear to G, G forsaken); exclamatory 13 (OMG 9, MG 2, OG 2)

Violence: Few times Moderate (girls prick hands with knife, boy hit w/ food plate, children hit w/ belt blood on clothes)

Sex: Few times Implied (married couple in bedroom suggestive dialogue)

Nudity: Once (nude painting); Near Nudity Few times (women in underwear, topless women seen from behind)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Almost constant Alcohol drinking, drunken behavior, drug put in drink, alcoholism not condoned, cigarette smoking, reference to prescription drug problems

Other: Friends intervene to resolve estrangement, ethnic slur used once in historical scene, childs pants soiled w/ excrement, Mother thinks daughter involved in incest, man calls wife Catholic idiot, Catholic woman prays to Mary ask to pass prayer to son and his Father, child vomiting, woman said damaged self rather than children, good father-daughter relationship, fianc supportive, mother daughter reconcile

Running Time: 104 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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