Cinema: Festive Film Fare for Thanksgiving: Steel Magnolias

With a Mermaid as hostess, Magnolias on the table -- and a turkey called Valmont

STEEL MAGNOLIAS

Directed by Herbert Ross

Screenplay by Robert Harling

Men have hunting, ball games and bars -- plenty of opportunities to practice the hearty, necessary rituals of male bonding. Feminist theory and common sense tell us that women have a similar need to renew gender loyalties. Their problem, traditionally, has been finding suitable places and occasions to do so.

It was observant of playwright Robert Harling to see that a small-town beauty parlor can function as a little lodge hall for women, a place where they can let their hair down while it is being put up. It was clever...

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