Fried Green Tomatoes – The movie's horribly nasty secret

Warning: This article is really only relevant to you if you’ve seen the movie Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) and have a reasonable memory of it.

Ever since I saw Fried Green Tomatoes many moons ago, I considered it one of my semi-favorite movies. Probably not in my top 10, but definitely in my top 20. However, something has always bothered me about it.

The primary character of Fried Green Tomatoes is Idgie Threadgoode. I’m sure you remember.  She’s the spontatenous, short-haired, angry, rebellious ho-bag that stars for virtually all of the film.

Secondary to Idgie Threadgoode is her alter-ego, Ninny Threadgoode. I’m sure you remember her too as the bright-spirited old lady who tells the story of Idgie Threadgoode and her very interesting life.

Before we continue, I want you to remember one very important portion of the Film. The movie implies that Idgie and Ninny Threadgoode are the same person. The final scene in the movie shows Ninny implying to Evelyn Couch that Idgie was by recently to drop off a fresh batch of honey from the local bee-hive. There’s a little joke about “Well maybe we’ll see her today…”. Yes, I can see it now, you’re remembering it.

Let me just get it out in the open: The book makes a clear distinction between Idgine and Ninny. There are many portions of the book where 3rd person narratives clearly define them as seperate people. However, the movie goes out of it’s way to imply that Idgie and Ninny are the same person.  You really do have to accept this. I think you’re ridiculous if you don’t. Although you won’t be the first. My wife insists there isn’t a connection between the two in the movie… but she only argues that after hearing the rest of my point.

So now let’s review some quotes from the movie, we’ll need these for my brief culmination of disgusting point-making:

Ninny Threadgoode: You see, I was practically adopted by the threadgoode family. I married her brother Cleo.

Alright. Well, so that’s kinda nasty. Since the movie implies that Ninny and Idgie are the same person, we can now only assume that in the film, Idgie marries her brother, and in an effort to avoid any violation of Incest laws of the 1930′s and 40′s, she’s changed her identity so that her and her brother can be happy forever.

But is there anything backing this up? Well let’s see:

Ninny Threadgoode: I was about your age when I had my child. Then I went through the Change of life.
Evelyn Couch: I didn’t know you had a child.
Ninny Threadgoode: Yes I did. Albert. When he was born, the doctor said it would be best if I didn’t see him. He said his mind would never develop past the age of five… and I should just put him in an institution. Because the burden of rasin’ a child like that would be too great.

Alright. There are lots of reasons why a child with these kinds of problems might be born. Independent of a the implication that Idgie and Ninny are the same person, you wouldn’t think anything of it. However, since the movie makes a strong point that Idgie and Ninny are the same person, that Ninny married Idgie’s brother Cleo, and that they then had a child who wasn’t quite right… well, you get it don’t you?

While researching this absolutely pointless article, I’ve also found out that apparently in the book, Ruth and Idgie are, uh, ‘lovers’. 

That’s just retarded. I’m trying not to think about whether or not this too was implied in the movie, because it might quickly leave my top 20 list.  I also feel like the last 45 minutes of my life have been wasted. But, I’m going to post this article anyway. Dangit.

I should not hit publish on this. But I can’t in good conscience let all this typing go to waste.