• Publication date: August 1, 2011

Reconciliation With a Little Divine Intervention Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: The Craft of Forgiving

For seven years successful playwright Siddalee Walker (Sandra Bullock) had not spoken to her mother, a 60-something southern belle named Vivi (Ellen Burstyn). Recently, her daughter gained widespread exposure in a Time magazine interview; ordinarily a mother would be proud of such an achievement, at least if Siddalee (Sidda for short) had not claimed that an abusive childhood was her creative inspiration.

For seven years successful playwright Siddalee Walker (Sandra Bullock) had not spoken to her mother, a 60-something southern belle named Vivi (Ellen Burstyn). Recently, her daughter gained widespread exposure in a Time magazine interview; ordinarily a mother would be proud of such an achievement, at least if Siddalee (Sidda for short) had not claimed that an abusive childhood was her creative inspiration. While Vivi admittedly had flaws, one of them being severe alcoholism, she believed that Sidda's claims were overdramatized, and to a large extent unfair.

After years of estrangement Vivi calls her daughter, only to bash the phone against a kitchen table while yelping loudly. In response Sidda does the same, while her Scottish boyfriend (Angus MacFadyen) restrains her from smashing the phone into pieces. Like it or not a war has been initiated, and the 30-year-old Louisianan turned sophisticated New Yorker is oblivious to its impending severity.

As a child Vivi and her friends initiated a secret society dubbed the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and it has remained intact decades since. After a series of mediation attempts are unsuccessful, members of the sisterhood book flights to New York, bum-rush Siddalee's apartment, and then take her by force to Louisiana. Once there, Vivi's friends reveal a scrapbook containing decades of club memorabilia, documenting each member's successes and failures.

By reviewing the book the women hope to explain Vivi's trials and tribulations to Sidda, and perhaps establish that while her mother made mistakes, they were circumstantial and not deliberate. Despite their best efforts the sisterhood cannot convince Sidda to forgive her mother, forcing them to execute an emotionally daunting alternative.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is a screen adaptation of author Rebecca Wells' identically titled novel, and a collection of short stories entitled Little Altars Everywhere. Box office returns were respectable, and the picture more than tripled its $27 million budget. Soundtrack features Lauryn Hill, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, and many other artists. Sandra Bullock's performance in the film earned her a Teen Choice Award nomination.

Year: 2002

Duration: 116 minutes

Genre: Drama

Starring:

Sandra Bullock

Ellen Burstyn

Fionnula Flanagan

James Garner

Ashley Judd

Shirley Knight

Maggie Smith

Director: Callie Khouri

Rating: Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements, explicit language, and brief sensuality.