On Sunday night the new "updated" version of the classic movie (based on the classic play) Steel Magnolias. I've written about my concern and worry about what this movie reboot would be like. Many of the people in the D-OC have been worried about how diabetes would be approached in the movie. Rightly so, as the original basically made it look like if a woman with diabetes had a baby, she was doomed to die and leave her child motherless.
First off, let me say (in case you didn't read what I've written previously), I adore the original version of Steel Magnolias. I cry every time I see it. Secondly, let me say that the Lifetime reboot, with an entirely African-American cast, was handled very well.
I don't get Lifetime, so I went to my mom's on Sunday night to watch the movie. She typically wouldn't watch the movie, just because she's the mother of a daughter living with Type 1 diabetes (ME!) and what mom wants to watch a movie that a person with said disease dies? But my mom watched it with me, cause she's super awesome like that. If you don't believe me, go read THIS.
Overall, the "updated" version of Steel Magnolias was nearly IDENTICAL to the original. There were a few exceptions. The cast is the first and most obvious of the changes. There are a plethora of cell phones and newer technology devices, along with the occasional pop-culture reference in the script. The line dancing at the wedding reception was replaced by some more updated, and culturally appropriate music and dance for the "new" cast. But so many of the things were exactly the same. The lines, the infamous armadillo cake, the pink wedding with a ton of bridesmaids. Sometime it was the same right down to the camera angles.
When M'Lynn is arguing with Shelby's decision to have a child, it's pointed out by Shelby that her medical records were an issue in the adoption process. This is something I was glad to be brought up because I've looked into it. While diabetes isn't a flat out "no," any chronic health condition is a serious hurdle to get past. I'm sure if you added in the kidney issues, a "no" would be likely. Shelby did say that she was tightening her control, checking her blood sugar 10 times a day, and seeing doctors specializing in high risk birth; all of these are things we can relate to and I'm GLAD they brought it to light.
Also, we actually got to see Shelby check her blood sugar. Only once, but it's an improvement over the first movie. Though there was never any mention of an insulin pump, CGM, or any other treatment. I can't complain, really. Diabetes was kind of glossed over (though not as much as in the first film), but the movie, in my opinion, is about the relationship between the women in the story more than it's about Shelby and her diabetes and kidney issues.
One of the things that most people wouldn't notice, unless they'd seen the staged play, was that M'Lynn's famous break-down was changed to more closely reflect the play. In the original movie, her break down happens at the grave-side. In this version, it happens in the beauty shop, as it does in the play. I appreciated that because I feel like it would be more likely to happen that way. The difference? I still like Sally Field's breakdown more than Queen Latifah's. Don't hate me. I love Queen Latifah, but the fact remains I was more moved by Sally's performance.
Same goes for Julia Roberts' low blood sugar performance in the original versus Condola Rashad's. The one thing about Rashad's low that WAS better was the guilt she felt when she began to come back to herself after drinking the juice. I've been known to do nothing buy cry and say, "I'm sorry." after a low like that. And the brought in the cold sweats as well. They never said it, but Queen Latifah was fanning Rashad. Someone without diabetes may not have noticed it or even understood what it was. But as a person who has suffered major cold sweats after a severe low, I did notice it and appreciated the attention to detail.
Honestly, the movie made me cry. I was expecting that. I didn't hate it. I wasn't expecting that. I truly enjoyed getting the chance to "live tweet" the movie with several other members of the D-OC. And I really appreciated getting to watch the movie with my mom.
The moment that will live in my brain forever, though, was something my mom said to me. We were both crying on the couch as Shelby had her low. Me, because I know what that's like. I've felt that. I hate that. My mom because..... well, let me just quote her. She said it so well. "It's so easy to forget what it's like when you aren't around it anymore. It's not fair that I can forget and you're still dealing with it all the time."
Final judgement, out of 10
Respecting the original: 10
Updating diabetes info: 10
New cast: 8