I am not a woman. I am not gay. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is not a movie I would typically go to, especially when I have yet to see such fare as The Sum of All Fears. But when all is said and done, I found this mostly women-oriented film fairly entertaining.
The only reason I went to go see this movie is because I had a female friend that was a big fan of the book. I wasn't too crazy to see it and I insisted on a matinee time. But upon sitting in the theater, I found Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood to have a decent amount of funny moments and some strong dramatic sequences as well, mainly focused around Ashley Judd.
The movie, based on the book by the same title, is about a group of four women, who, over the course of their long lives, have stayed true to their oath of "the Sisterhood." They are tomboys to the bone. However, not everything is good between one of them (Ellen Burstyn) and her grown-up daughter (Sandra Bullock). The other three "kidnap" Bullock and try to explain to her why her mother is the way she is.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood has an all-star cast, featuring Ellen Burstyn and Ashley Judd as Vivi Walker, Sandra Bullock as her daughter, Maggie Smith, James Garner, and Angus McFayden. The acting is terrific, especially in the case of Judd. Judd is the only character that is really given much depth, and we get to see her as a fun-loving teenager, a caring mother, and a literally psychotic woman who, out of her mind, whips her children with a belt. This character is a good change of pace from Judd's streak of heroines (where she has had the most success), which don't say much about her acting talent. Burstyn also does a great job as Judd's older self, and Sandra Bullock delivers another consistent performance as the daughter. Bullock is truly overrated; she seems to choose a lot of movies that don't allow her to extend her acting range, but at least Divine Secrets allows her to blend what she is known for - comedy - with some real drama.
As far as the movie is concerned, it is definitely a chick flick. There are enough funny scenes to keep the guys entertained, at least initially. About halfway through the movie takes a darker turn, but still manages to be funny here and there. Of course, some of the remarks the women make are against men, so men won't find those moments too entertaining. Aside from the comedy, Divine Secrets is about woman bonding and stuff like that. Some of the dramatic scenes are catchy, like when Judd snaps, but a lot are not that interesting. The last half hour is especially boring, at least from a male's perspective.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is a little long and slow in parts, but still is funny enough and intriguing enough to keep my attention. I'm a guy and I could handle it; women should love it.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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