Steel Magnolias parents guide

Steel Magnolias Parent Guide

This film's humor and tragedies will have audiences both laughing and crying at the inner steel-like strength displayed by these outwardly fragile blossoms.

Overall B+

A group of Southern bells (Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah) gather regularly at Truvy's (Dolly Parton) beauty parlor for hair care, gossip and an opportunity to share the joys and sorrows of each others' lives.

Release date November 14, 1989

Violence B
Sexual Content B-
Profanity C+
Substance Use C+

Why is Steel Magnolias rated PG? The MPAA rated Steel Magnolias PG

Run Time: 117 minutes

Parent Movie Review

I missed Steel Magnolias when it first released in 1989. But now the movie, based on a play by Robert Harling, who also wrote the screenplays for The First Wives Club, The Evening Star and Laws of Attraction, is releasing on a new digital format for another generation. While these ladies of Louisiana aren’t your upwardly mobile, style-obsessed Sex in the City kind of females, the types of friendships depicted in Steel Magnolias are the kind that have sustained real women through the ups and downs of everyday life, weddings, births, deaths and complicated relationships.

At the heart of the group is Truvy Jones (Dolly Parton), the owner of a home based beauty shop where the girls come for haircuts, facials, wax jobs and most importantly gossip. As M’Lynn (Sally Field) prepares for the wedding of her only daughter Shelby (Julia Roberts), she gathers at the salon with Shelby, Ouiser (Shirley MacLaine), Clairee (Olympia Dukakis) and Truvy’s new assistant Annelle (Daryl Hannah) to discuss the prospective groom (Dylan McDermott) and the antics of M’Lynn’s gun happy husband (Tom Skerritt).

As Southern belles, they feel an obligation to uphold and honor traditional values and activities. Although she complains vehemently about gardening, Ouiser still raises a plot full of tomatoes every year because that is what “Southern ladies do.” On the other hand, these women push the boundaries, particularly when Clairee becomes a color commentator for the local football team and charges into a locker room full of naked players for an interview.

The real value of their bond is displayed, however, when one of them faces the death of a loved one. These female characters (played by some of Hollywood’s biggest names when the movie released in 1989) reach out to one another even while dealing with personal struggles themselves.

Some brief sexual innuendo and comments, a car covered with inflated condoms and a smattering of profanities are the script’s biggest concerns. However, the film’s humor and tragedies will have audiences both laughing and crying at the inner steel-like strength displayed by these outwardly fragile blossoms.

Directed by Herbert Ross. Starring Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah.. Running time: 117 minutes. Theatrical release November 14, 1989. Updated

Steel Magnolias
Rating & Content Info

Why is Steel Magnolias rated PG? Steel Magnolias is rated PG by the MPAA

Violence: An angry man repeatedly fires blanks from a gun to scare off birds. He also shoots fireworks into a tree and jokes about shooting a bothersome neighbor. Family members argue briefly. Characters deal with a death.  A woman spits in a man’s face.  

Sexual Content: A woman’s fiancé sneaks into her bathroom while she is in the bathtub. She makes a reference to his male anatomy. A character talks about parking, skinny dipping and “things that frightened the fish.” A car is covered with inflated condoms. Naked male buttocks are seen in a football locker room while the men are changing. A woman refers to herself as “acting like a Jezebel.” Comments are made a about a homosexual character. A woman is embarrassed at receiving lingerie at her bridal shower.

Language: The script includes a handful of mild swear words, several uses of scatological slang, terms of Deity and a rude arm gesture.

Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters talk about a girl being high on drugs. Another character confesses to drinking and smoking to deal with disappointment. Characters smoke on several occasions. They drink at social events and at home.

Other: Characters deal with life-threatening medical issues. Injuries from medical procedures are shown.

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More parents' guide for Steel Magnolias after the break...

Steel Magnolias Parents' Guide

How do these women support one another? What role does each play in their shared friendship? What strengths do they display?

How is the mother and daughter relationship portrayed? Why is M’Lynn reluctant to let her daughter grow up and make her own decisions? Why can it be difficult for some mothers to step back from their parenting roles and take on an adult relationship with their children?

How do the characters deal with death? What role can appropriate humor play in a time of sadness? How does Clairee help lighten the mood after the funeral?

How does Truvy treat her husband even when he chooses not to participate with her in many of the local activities? Is this kind of respect important in a marriage? Why is he hesitant to do more with Truvy? What does he do to show his affection?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Steel Magnolias movie is September 11, 2012. Here are some details…

Home Video Notes: Steel Magnolias

Release Date: 11 September 2012

Steel Magnolias releases to Blu-ray on September 11, 2012.

Related home video titles:

The accomplished actresses who make up the cast of this film can also be seen in Forrest Gump (Sally Field), Joyful Noise (Dolly Parton), Runaway Bride (Julia Roberts), Mr. Holland’s Opus (Olympia Dukakis), In Her Shoes (Shirley MacLaine) and A Walk to Remember (Daryl Hannah).