Mothers and Daughters, Women's Friendship, Golden Years, Haunted By the Past
Bittersweet, Nostalgic, Warm, Wry, Sentimental
Estrogen Shot, Only Human
Has Detailed Data (New)
10, 1, 2, 3
Count - Awards
US Box Office
Country Of Origin
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is a 2002 American comedy-drama film starring Sandra Bullock and Ashley Judd, directed and written by Callie Khouri. It is based on Rebecca Wells' novel of the same name and its prequel collection of short stories, Little Altars Everywhere.
Has Detailed Data (New)
Youtube Video Code
The film opens in 1937 Louisiana with four little girls out in the woods at night, each wearing a home-made headdress. The leader, Viviane Walker, initiates them into a secret order she dubs the "Ya-Ya Sisterhood," which they seal by cutting their palms and taking a blood oath of undying loyalty.
Then we switch to 2002 New York City, where Viviane's daughter, playwright Siddalee Walker (Sandra Bullock), while overseeing production of her newest release, gives an interview with a Time Magazine reporter, mentioning her unhappy childhood as a major source of inspiration for her work. The reporter sensationalizes Sidda's complaint, implying abuse and deep, dark family secrets.
Vivi (Ellen Burstyn) reads the article and becomes extremely upset. She calls Sidda, but instead of speaking can only bang the phone on the table while crying that she is dead to her. Sidda, equally frustrated by her mother's behavior, also bangs her phone against the counter after Vivi has hung up on her. Much to the frustration of her fiancé, Connor McGill (Angus Macfadyen), Sidda takes her mother's behavior as a declaration of all-out war. Vivi takes down all the pictures of Sidda in her house, cuts her face out of family pictures, and mails the defaced pictures to Sidda, along with a copy of her will with Sidda's name marked out. Sidda in turn sends Vivi a newly-printed wedding invitation with the time and place cut out, plus torn-up tickets to her play.
When the Ya-Ya Sisters learn of Vivi's war, they decide to take matters into their own hands to resolve it. Led by Caroline Eliza "Caro" Benett (Maggie Smith), Aimee Malissa "Teensy" Whitman (Fionnula Flanagan), and Denise Rose "Necie" Kelleher (Shirley Knight) visit Sidda in New York, then drug her, kidnap her, and take her back to Louisiana. There they show her a scrapbook album her mother has kept, titled Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, which they believe they must reveal to Sidda.
They explain to Sidda her mother's experiences, depicted in flashbacks of their childhood, then as young women and mothers, including Sidda's own childhood. Vivi's (Ashley Judd) troubles include: encountering family racism as a child; a bitter, jealous mother who falsely accuses her of incest with her father, and the loss of her true love, Teensy's brother Jack (Matthew Settle) who is killed in World War II. She settles for an unhappy marriage with Shepherd James "Shep" Walker (David Lee Smith/James Garner), a good and faithful man who loves her, despite the abuse she heaps on him because he isn't Jack.
This is all well and good to Sidda, but doesn't change her opinion of her mother as a self-centered person unable to deal with her troubles, which she has unfairly inflicted on Sidda to the point of needing psychotherapy. Meanwhile, she tells Connor not to send out the wedding invitations, which troubles him enough to come down to Louisiana to find her. The Sisters then realize that Sidda must be told Vivi's deepest, darkest secret in order to understand. They try to persuade Vivi that she must do this herself, but she doesn't have the courage to tell her daughter, so they do it for her with Sidda's father present. In the meantime, Vivi tells Connor herself. The secret is that Vivi eventually had a nervous breakdown, requiring a period of hospitalization.
Sidda finally understands the depth of her mother's suffering, and
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Picture Gallery
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