re: What happens to Shelby in STEEL MAGNOLIAS? (Possible spoilers)

FOAnatic Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I'm going solely based on the movie because I didn't get to see the play so I don't know how the ending differs from the movie to the play.

But I just finished watching the whole movie from beginning to end for the first time, and I'm not sure they make it known what Shelby's cause of death is. I know she's diabetic and she get's the kidney transplant from her mother. Maybe I'm just oblivious, but they don't tell us what happens. I'm only assuming her body rejects the transplant.

Is that right?
"I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about." - Oscar Wilde
EganFan2 Profile Photo
Broadway Star
Yes, her body rejects the kidney.
melissa errico fan Profile Photo
melissa errico fan
Broadway Legend

At first, the transplant is successful. Then, a short while later, the kidney fails and she goes into full septic shock.

FOAnatic Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I can't compare the movie to the play.

But, I think the movie is spectacular. The cast is magnificent. With such great actresses as Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field and wonderful performances from Julia Roberts, Daryl Hannah and Dolly is such a tight plot.

This is definitely an extraordinary movie.
"I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about." - Oscar Wilde
melissa errico fan Profile Photo
melissa errico fan
Broadway Legend
Olympia Dukakis was awful in the movie, IMO. She plays EVERY ROLE with a Massachusetts accent. It's embarrassing.
almostxfamous Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I love this movie A LOT. It a wonderful movie, backed by that friggin' amazing cast.
"Last week I would've given a kidney to anyone in this office. I would've reached right into my stomach and pulled it out for them. But now, no. I don't have the relationship with these people that I thought I did. I hope they ask, so they can hear me say, "Uh, no, I only give my organs to my real friends. Go get yourself a monkey kidney." "I'm not offended by homosexuality. In the 60's, I made love to many, many women. Often outdoors... in the mud and the rain. And it's possible a man slipped in. There would be no way of knowing. " -The Office
Broadway Legend
aww i love it just came on tnt last night and i think it comes on again tonight <333

yay for chick flicks that are actually good movies...
"But now the air is filled with confusion. We replace care with illusion."
Songsstresss Profile Photo
Broadway Star
I watched the movie today too and I have again FORBIDDEN myself from ever watching it again as I do after every time I watch it.... I am just such an emotional mess and so worn out by the end, I can hardly handle it!
JonnyV Profile Photo
Chorus Member
It's based on the death of the writer's sister. Not sure of the exact cause of death, though.
His gentle companion: Ha! If they only knew. -Chess ************************* I've seen plays that were more exciting than this. Honest to God... PLAYS. -Homer at the zoo.
Marquise Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Scroll up. The characters exact cause of death was posted.
I also <3 this movie. Not all chick flicks are bad. I usually double this one up with Waiting to Exhale.
WickedGeek28 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I saw the play, my mother raved about ti so that was my imputus. I loved it, I thought it was great.
"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."
To Kill A Mockingbird
bare_nakedlady Profile Photo
Broadway Star
The play is 1000 times better! The movie is phenomenal, but it confuses the focus a little. The play only has the women and they are only ever in the Beauty shop. The themes of Friendship, love, and the unique perspective of what exactly goes on in a beauty shop in a small town are lost when you start adding all of the men and locations.
"It's like children's theatre for 40-year old gay people!" - XANADU THE MUSICAL
jimmirae Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
"Here! Hit Her! Hit Ouiser!! Go ahead and knock her lights out!!"
Olympia did that such justice with MacLaine as her "Ouiser", LOL!
"It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance." - Elizabeth Taylor
munkustrap178 Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
I like the movie, but I don't think it's a masterpiece.

I hated the play - it was so boring.
"If you are going to do something, do it well. And leave something witchy." -Charlie Manson
vbplayer Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
Loved it. Laughter through tears.........brilliant.
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." -- Author Unknown
musicalfandukie Profile Photo
Broadway Legend
i enjoyed the movie alot more than the actual play.
Steel Magnolias is awesome. I saw the play, fell in love with the story and then saw the movie and sobbed my eyes out. I would say it is the best story about friendship and unselfish love in a long time...we need more great stories like this!
actor51678 Profile Photo
I acutally prefer the movie to the play. I've seen it onstage three times, two amateur productions and the recent Broadway revival and I felt ALL productions missed the emotional mark in one way or another. I didn't go to see the play with any expectations of the brilliant performances in the movie, how can you compare really, but I couldn't help but feel let down. I think that the Broadway production did well with the funnier side of the story, but had difficulty navigating to the more serious moments.
Ah well, that's life
Michael Bennett Profile Photo
Michael Bennett
Broadway Legend
"Spectacular?" Well, I think guilty pleasure is more like it. It's not very particularly well written or clever, though it's certainly enjoyable, and the gay men certainly do love it-- not exactly sure why -- but seems to right up there with MOMMIE DEAREST and VALLEY OF THE DOLLS as "must see" queer cinema.
I'm sorry to butt in but, going back to the original question...Shelby died after a diabetic coma. Both organ rejection and septic shock take time to develope (days or weeks.) She had Type 1 (juvenile onset) diabetes. This type is much harder to control than most Type 2 (adult onset)patients'. The fact that she was a very brittle diabetic (large swings in her blood sugar levels) is shown early on in the beauty shop when she goes from coherent to combative and disoriented very rapidly. Her mother remedies the situation with orange juice to bring her blood sugar back up. Sadly, there is no one around when her blood sugar precipitously drops at home with little Jack. When that happens the person passes rapidly into a coma. The brain uses glucose for its fuel source. Without it over a long enough time, like a brain deprived of oxygen, it suffers irreperable damage and dies. Incidently, Robert Harling's sister on whom the play is based, was Susan. She was married to a doctor not a lawyer and she is buried in Mansfield, LA where all of my family is originally from. My cousin is the same age as Robert and knows him well. Oh, and I'm an R.N. I Hope this helps.