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Buren, J.V. (1998). Food for Thought in the Film Fried Green Tomatoes. Psychoanal. Inq., 18(2):291-299.

(1998). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 18(2):291-299

Food for Thought in the Film Fried Green Tomatoes

Jane Van Buren, Ph.D.

The film Fried Green Tomatoes, directed by John Avilar, is one of a recent series of films (The Piano and Angie) that break with the tradition of women's compromised social and subjective situations within the usual film discourse. The film's narrative focuses on the changing relationship between women in a Southern rural setting (Alabama) over the course of the century. This setting allows many connections to be made between the races as well as the sexes as an integral part of the film. An older woman, Ninny Threadgoode, played by Jessica Tandy, is not only the narrator, but serves as the conduit for many of the film's themes and characters. Evelyn Couch, played by Kathy Bates, is a woman in her mid-forties who learns about women's history and potential subjectivity through Mrs. Threadgoode's tales of her own generation's experience. Ninny's sister-in-law Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson) and a close friend of the Threadgoode's, Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker), are two women born at the turn of the century who break radically from traditional culture. Their radical departure leads to the murder of an oppressive male. On a deeper level, it leads to the murder of old values.

The film is set in a refreshing psychic space that bursts out of what we have come to accept as the dominant film discourse of male subjectivity (Penley, 1988; Mulvey, 1988; Rose, 1988; Kaplan, 1990).

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