Critical Movie Analysis Fried Green Tomatoes

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Updated: Nov 30, 2023
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Critical Movie Analysis Fried Green Tomatoes

This essay will provide a critical analysis of the film “Fried Green Tomatoes.” It will explore the movie’s themes of friendship, empowerment, and social change, as well as its portrayal of gender and race relations. The piece will examine the narrative structure, character development, and the film’s impact on audiences. Moreover, at PapersOwl, there are additional free essay samples connected to Analysis.

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As I looked through the list of movies provided, I automatically chose to write my analysis on Fried Green Tomatoes. I have seen this movie more than I can remember as child. It was one of my favorite movies growing up. Not only did I choose to write on this film because I think it is a great movie, I also chose it because of how in depth the plot dives. Now that I am older, I can think about the film in a more intellectual mindset.

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It touches on a few different social issues such as gender inequality, racial injustice, domestic abuse, as well as marital complications. I will go into detail on the different social structures and groups that the film sheds light on.

This film stars a woman named Evelyn Couch, a desperate wife who is struggling to save her marriage in the midst of menopause. Her husband, Ed, brings her along to visit his aunt in a nursing home where she meets an elderly lady named Ninny Threadgood. A close bond is sparked between the two and Ninny begins telling the old stories of Idgie and Ruth in Whistle Stop, Alabama in the early 1900s. The two were complete opposites: Idgie was a stubborn tomboy and Ruth was a churchgoing lady. A while after Idgie’s brother (also Ruth’s boyfriend) passed away, the two developed a strong, platonic love for one another. After the summer season ends, Ruth moved back to Valdosta, Ga where she married Frank Bennett. Upon visiting Ruth in Valdosta, Idgie discovers she is in a domestically abusive marriage and that she is also pregnant. Idgie successfully rescues Ruth from the toxic environment. Months go by, and Frank is now ready to see his son. After attempting to forcefully get his son, he fails and is killed by the house maid, Sipsey, in self defense. Because Sipsey is a person of color, Idgie helps execute a master plan to cover up Frank’s murder.

As I watched the film, I identified three core issues between the four main characters. Both Evelyn and Ruth’s stories address gender inequality. As Evelyn fights to rekindle a flame in her marriage, she is constantly ignored and undermined by her husband. The unbalanced willingness to make the marriage work between the two is tough to watch. In society, the woman is taught to be the nurturer as well as the homemaker. The man is taught to be the breadwinner. I can only imagine that a lifetime of playing these roles can be quite exhausting to say the least. Once Evelyn begins to experience menopause, she seeks to find happiness somewhere else. Hearing the stories of Idgie and her courageous acts of kindness gives Evelyn the push she needs to start loving and standing up for herself again.

Ruth’s treatment from her husband shows how domestic violence creates inequality between the male and female genders. Women are physically seen as inferior compared to men and are consequently taken advantage of, even now in today’s society. In reality, the question, “Why didn’t you leave him?” is asked much more than, “Why would you put your hands on a woman?” To add insult to injury, domestic violence cases are hard to prove nowadays . As a result, victim blaming is far more common than sending the perpetrator to jail. However, thankfully for Ruth, she had the support system to leave the relationship early on.

As the film goes on, men continue to be the constant perpetrators and women are set to be the victims of their wrongdoings. As Idgie fights to protect her best friend, Frank plots on how he can get his son back. He and his KKK crew brutally whip Big George, a house worker and close friend who helped Ruth escape his violence. This creates a divide not only between men and women, but also between races as well. In Evelyn’s case, Ed lacks any interest in rekindling his marriage. Therefore, Evelyn is consistently depressed with her relationship, appearance, and overall confidence in herself. It is only when she hears the stories from Ninny that she begins caring about her weight, stops feeling bad for herself, and stops looking for approval from her husband.

Gladly, this film does have a happy ending, with an exception of Ruth passing away from cancer. After Frank was murdered, the sheriff’s suspicion automatically fell on Idgie, who had threatened Frank’s life before, and Big George. The suspense of who had actually killed Frank remained a mystery until the ending of the film. In defense of Ruth’s child, Sipsey was revealed as the person who committed the act. However, in the racist time setting the film took place in, Sipsey and Big George would be hung if the truth came out. It was Idgie’s ultimate idea to serve Frank up as BBQ to the sheriff. This solution prevented Idgie from being jailed/killed as well as Sipsey and Big George from being hung.

After Evelyn found out that Frank was killed, I believe she gained a sense of womanly power and independence within herself. Idgie’s courageous and brave alter ego, Towanda, inspired Evelyn to take back her power. The scene of her in the grocery store parking lot shows her desperately waiting for a parking spot but then being cut off by two younger girls who claimed to be, “younger and faster.” This seems to be Evelyn’s breaking point, being that this was her second encounter with a rude youngster. She remembers Towanda and begins taking revenge on the girls by giving them a well deserved fender bender. Her excuse to them was, “ I’m older and have better insurance.” From this point on, Evelyn begins solving her own internal issues with a newfound confidence in herself.

As I reflect back on the film, I believe the relational theory best applies to it. There is a huge sense of inequality not only between women and men, but also between the races. Evelyn’s relationship with her husband entails the homemaker/breadwinner structure that had been set in place for many decades. Ruth’s relationship with her husband shows how women are physically inferior compared to men and the dominance men have over women. This gender order and inequality between men and women intertwines with a different social structure, race. Because the white women are seen as inferior, they play as the white saviors of the film. Idgie kept Big George and Sipsey alive when the police encouraged her to place the blame on them in order to save herself because, “It’s easier to hang a colored person than a white woman.” It is clear that a white person’s life held much more value than a black person’s. Although segregation and slavery are no longer legal today, racism still largely exists and the gender order of society portrayed in the movie is an order that is still in effect today. Women have put forth a successful effort to gain equality between men and women, however there is still work to be done. The social practices of gender portrayed in the film have been practiced and taught for many generations and are still being used in today’s society.

In summation, I believe this film is a great film to show in class in order to convey the dynamic between men and women. Although it was set in the 1900s, it still portrays current issues and stigmas that women face today. Not only does it touch on gender and how it relates to society, but it also conveys issues on racism and domestic abuse. Since I have already seen this movie countless times, of course I love it! However, I have never had to analyze the film on a critical level. What I’ve taken away from this is women do hold their own power and when women unite, there is an endless opportunity to uplift and help one another.

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Critical Movie Analysis Fried Green Tomatoes. (2021, Mar 04). Retrieved from