Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Reviews

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Todd McCarthy
Variety
September 5, 2008
While there are pleasures to be had from watching so many grand actresses strut their stuff, the fact is that the overriding preoccupation here rests with surface impressions rather than psychological probity.
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Time Out
January 26, 2006
Better make the most of the first ten minutes of this execrable melodrama (directed by the scriptwriter of Thelma & Louise), because from then on it's the yackety-yack sisterhood in spades.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
July 20, 2002
Gives us a lot to enjoy and something most studio movies don't even try for: an attempt at the richness, density and sheer contrariness of life.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
June 11, 2002
As 'chick flicks' go, this one is pretty miserable, resorting to string-pulling rather than legitimate character development and intelligent plotting.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
June 10, 2002
Not one character in this ovarian jungle is particularly likable.
Full Review | Original Score: C
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F.X. Feeney
L.A. Weekly
June 10, 2002
Khouri manages, with terrific flair, to keep the extremes of screwball farce and blood-curdling family intensity on one continuum.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
June 10, 2002
Except for Ashley Judd, who shows true grit as Vivi in her babe days, the effect is like being buried in molasses.
| Original Score: 2/5
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
June 10, 2002
[T]here's alcoholism, there's child abuse, there's all sorts of tragedy, but it's handled in a sitcom manner, which is completely wrong for this material.
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Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
June 7, 2002
It thinks its message is feminist, but with its cast of uncommunicative, annoyingly ineffectual, southern-fried biddies, what it really ends up saying is 'Women: Can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em.'
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/5
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
June 7, 2002
If Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood suffers from a ploddingly melodramatic structure, it comes to life in the performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
June 7, 2002
Neither the laughter nor the tears make a genuine emotional connection.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
June 7, 2002
Not that there's nothing to enjoy about Divine Secrets, but it too frequently veers into screechy melodrama or artificially drawn-out conflict.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
June 7, 2002
There's no denying that Divine Secrets is a clumsy journey, but at the end we know we've been places.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
June 7, 2002
The movie's main point, that sisterhood is powerful -- or, in this case, pahrful -- is hammered home in a hundred different ways. Those nailheads seal the movie off tight and clean.
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John Anderson
Newsday
June 7, 2002
The makers of Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood should offer a free ticket (second prize, of course, two free tickets) to anyone who can locate a genuinely honest moment in their movie.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
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Melissa Ward Aguilar
Houston Chronicle
June 7, 2002
Ya-Yas everywhere will forgive the flaws and love the film.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Susan Stark
Detroit News
June 7, 2002
Any woman who counts women as prime life support must revel in the bonds this saga explores.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Steven Rosen
Denver Post
June 7, 2002
I never bought Vivi's life as anything real.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Paul Tatara
CNN.com
June 7, 2002
It practically lies down and wallows in its mega-hammy 'I Am Woman' tone.
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Renee Graham
Boston Globe
June 7, 2002
Sure, it's contrived and predictable, but its performances are so well tuned that the film comes off winningly, even though it's never as solid as you want it to be.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
June 7, 2002
It's a predictable chick flick raised to a level above soap opera by an impressive cast.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Megan Turner
New York Post
June 7, 2002
The contrivances employed to extract tears -- the measure of success for a sentimental, female-skewing film -- are as stale as a day-old biscuit.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
June 7, 2002
The only question ... is to determine how well the schmaltz is manufactured -- to assess the quality of the manipulative engineering. Average, at best, I'm afraid.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
June 7, 2002
There is not a character in the movie with a shred of plausibility, not an event that is believable, not a confrontation that is not staged, not a moment that is not false.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Stephen Holden
New York Times
June 6, 2002
For all its failed connections, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood is nurturing, in a gauzy, dithering way.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
June 6, 2002
A work of excess and passion, an untidy sprawl of a motion picture that is sometimes ragged, occasionally uncertain, but -- and this is what's important -- always warm, accessible and rich in emotional life.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
June 6, 2002
This Southern-belle saga is convinced that it's charming enough to mow down any viewer's skepticism. For the most part, its confidence is justified.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
June 6, 2002
Fans of such stuff ... will probably find Divine Secrets a delicious before-bed treat, just as they did the novel; for the rest of us, it's just reheated Fried Green Tomatoes.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
June 6, 2002
Less successful in exploring the long-term effects of mental breakdown than in dispensing short-term comic pick-me-ups, Ya-Ya wrings abundant laughter and tears.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
June 6, 2002
It's mostly a pleasure to watch. And the reason for that is a self-aware, often self-mocking, intelligence.
| Original Score: 4/5
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
June 6, 2002
Despite the heart it wears on its sleeve, this movie brings back real women, and beneath the taffeta and the taffy, there's the actual stuff of real human conflict.
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Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
June 6, 2002
The secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood aren't all that divine, and in the end they're not terribly compelling, either.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
June 6, 2002
A rich, thoroughly engaging drama that is by turns funny, wistful, phantasmagorical and disturbing.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
June 6, 2002
As someone who couldn't even finish the Rebecca Wells' best-seller and approached the movie with utter dread, I was pleasantly surprised.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Mark Holcomb
Village Voice
June 4, 2002
The milieu is wholly unconvincing ... and the histrionics reach a truly annoying pitch.
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
June 2, 2002
In Divine Secrets, there's nothing much to discover: Everything is right up-front, all fluttery and yowling.
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Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter
May 10, 2002
It does quite nicely by its tasty performances and a highly evocative song selection.