Daily Dose: Wait, they’re supposed to be lesbians?

Welcome to Queerty’s latest entry in our Queerantined: Daily Dose series. Every day as long as the COVID-19 pandemic has us under quarantine, we’ll release a suggested bit of gloriously queer entertainment designed to keep you from getting stir crazy in the house. Each weekend, we will also suggest a bingable title to keep you extra busy.

The Flawed: Fried Green Tomatoes

How can we love a movie that manages to downplay or totally erase all the queerness of the two central characters? We grapple with that question every time we screen Fried Green Tomatoes, and yet we still fall in love every time. Kathy Bates stars as a bored, sexually frustrated housewife who befriends a nursing home patient named Ninny (Jessica Tandy, at the height of her screen power). Ninny recounts a mystery from her small, southern hometown about two women: Idgie (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker), lifelong friends who survive poverty, abusive relationships and the perils of womanhood. Of course, modern audiences should pick up on the fact that Idgie and Ruth are lesbians, as the original novel made clear. The movie, made in 1991, downplays that element, which is what keeps Fried Green Tomatoes from becoming a classic of queer cinema. As it is though, the film features wonderful characters and performances from its leadsand a story we just can’t quit, even when it isn’t being true.

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