Sweet Home Alabama
- compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2002 1 Jan
Religious media critics express mixed feelings. "While the movie eventually has its heart in the right place …
Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) is bothered by something else: "The film depends heavily upon stereotypes for its humor. We must … recognize that stereotypes tend to encourage division amongst us as they focus on what makes a group of people uniquely different."
The caricatures didn't seem divisive to Holly McClure (Crosswalk): "I'm from Texas, so the accents, attitudes and references to the South were all things I could laugh at and relate to. Instead of the story focusing on a good or bad guy 'winning' the woman, it comes down to issues about who Melanie really is and … what kind of person she wants to be. And I like that."
"I can't think of how it would be possible to make a movie about
Dick Staub (CultureWatch) poses questions for getting the most out of the experience: "Can youthful love be the right love? Once you've given your heart completely can you ever really take it back? Can you and should you ever turn away from your roots and the people and places who have made you who you are?"
But Preview's critic says viewers shouldn't bother: "[
Mainstream critics liked Witherspoon even if they weren't thrilled with the rest. Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) says, "It is a fantasy, a sweet, light-hearted fairy tale. Witherspoon … is as lovable as Doris Day would have been in this role. But I am so very tired of the underlying premise. Isn't it time for the movies to reflect reality and show the Melanies of the world fleeing to New York as fast as they can?"
Anthony Lane (The New Yorker) is even less fond of it: "The whole project treads a delicate line between something that will fill a gulf in your afternoon and something that your local sanitation department will refuse to cart away. [Director Andy] Tennant … wants viewers to laugh down their noses at Alabama mores (bring on the deep-fried gags), yet he also wishes to make it perfectly clear that he holds the Yankee gods of money and modishness in righteous contempt."