The remake of classic "Steel Magnolias" aired on Lifetime this past Sunday, October 7th featuring a star studded cast to bring the touching story of a close knit group of ladies back to television. Powerhouses Queen Latifah, who served as executive producer; Phylicia Rashad and her daughter Condola Rashad; Alfre Woodard; Jill Scott and Adepero Oduye breathe new life into the 1989 film, resurrecting heartfelt memories from those who adored the original while helping a new generation discover what made it so great in the first place.
The cast is undoubtedly one of the major reasons this remake was so successful. While they didn’t keep in every single detail from the original, they conveyed the same unbreakable relationship and bond that existed in the classic film. Bringing an African-American cast to fill the roles played by Sally Fields, Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine and the original cast was a tall task, but the story still rings true over two decades later. They even had a small part for Julius (Dr. J) Irving and brought in the oh-so-handsome Lance Gross for some eye candy. The storyline was modernized for the most part with mentions and images of current pop culture. One of the only significant changes, however, came by way of character Shelby’s (played by Oduye) disease, kidney-complicated diabetes versus just diabetes in the original film.
One thing I was really excited about with having an African-American cast was of course the hair! Even in the original film, the relationship between the women and their hair was always a source of entertainment. Truvy’s (played by Scott) beauty salon is still the action hub, and if you looked closely, you could also see that natural hair care products were also well represented there too. I spotted brands including CURLS, Shea Moisture, Design Essentials, Taliah Waajid and Mizani during the salon scenes. This is probably one of the first movies where I could clearly spot some of the very same products I use! I was pleasantly pleased to see lots of beautiful hair throughout the movie. Annelle (played by Oduye) is working with a simply gorgeous mane of thick, coily hair, and she was just one of many others wearing their hair naturally curly. Truvy had an adage that there is “no such thing as natural beauty,” but I beg to differ!
All in all, I think they did a great job of adapting the film classic to 2012! It’s hard not to compare it to the original, and honestly, Julia Roberts was my favorite character in the original, but the intention of bringing it back to TV was not to simply duplicate what was already done well. The cast was still able to pull you into their lives and have you both laughing and crying all over the place. It’s clear that light and heart in Steel Magnolias transcends both time and race.
Did you catch the remake? What did you think of the adaptation?