In a surprising turn of events, a 1991 classic has found itself comfortably nestled at the ninth spot on Netflix’s top ten films list in the United States this week. The cosy, queer-coded drama with a dash of cannibalism on the side harks back to southern Americana vibes and stars Kathy Bates.
Directed by Jon Avnet, Fried Green Tomatoes boasts an ensemble cast featuring Bates, Jessica Tandy, Mary Stuart Masterson, Mary-Louise Parker, and Cicely Tyson. The screenplay, adapted from Fannie Flagg’s novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, was crafted by Flagg herself.
Set against the backdrop of the American South, the film interweaves two narratives: the friendship between Evelyn Couch (played by Kathy Bates) and Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy) in the 1980s and the vibrant tale of Idgie Threadgoode (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Ruth Jamison (Mary-Louise Parker) in the 1920s.
Fried Green Tomatoes received widespread acclaim upon its release, earning nominations for two Academy Awards, two BAFTA awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and a Guldbagge Award. The film, with a budget of $11million, grossed an impressive $119.4million at the box office, solidifying its status as both a critical and commercial success.
However, one aspect of the film has remained a subject of discussion over the years. At the time of its debut, Fried Green Tomatoes faced criticism for what some perceived as a reluctance to explore the lesbian romance between Idgie and Ruth fully. Unlike Fannie Flagg’s novel, the film takes a more subtle approach to portraying the romantic relationship between Idgie and Ruth, leaving their connection open to interpretation.
Despite this, the film went on to win the 1992 GLAAD Media Award for Best Feature Film with Lesbian Content. Avnet, in the DVD commentary of the film, revealed that a food fight scene was intended to be a “love scene” between the two characters.
Mary Stuart Masterson had told Southern Living that the scene was a one-take wonder, “We had the ability to go shower and start over and get dressed again, but I wanna say we only did it once with multiple cameras because it was just too fun. That was definitely the best day of work. Just the kind of thing you never get to do. Have a food fight.”
You can enjoy a serving of Fried Green Tomatoes on Netflix now.