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Devine Sectets of the
YaYa Sisterhood
Callie Khouri
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn ...
Length: 139 minutes
Rated: Pg-13
Studio: Warner Home Video

This film has the capacity to broaden your view of the power of narrative (storytelling) in coaching. Most coaching tends to emphasize the story of the individual and not the story of the group. As this movie compellingly shows, you may not have the story until you have the group story.

The film opens with the formation of the Ya-Ya sisterhood by a group of four girls and then fast forwards by about 50 years. One of the Ya-Ya sisters, Viviane (Ellen Burstyn) has a grown daughter, Siddalee (Sandra Bullock) who has been interviewed by a magazine reporter. The story printed in the magazine reveals Sidda had a difficult, traumatic childhood. This public disclosure is the most recent in a long series of tensions between Mother and Daughter and results in the two of them refusing to talk with each other.

Enter the three other Ya-Ya sisters. They decide that something must be done. They “kidnap” Sidda and introduce her to the Ya-Ya sisterhood by gradually revealing a story of Viviane that Sidda could never have pieced together on her own. At one point Sidda states that she has spent thousands of dollars and fifteen years in therapy and now in one week-end her growing up has become transparent. As you might hope, the movie has a happy ending with Mother and daughter reunited and deeply understanding each other for the first time.

Self-Observation Questions

  1. In the film Sidda has spent years trying to understand what happened in her childhood without ever finding closure. It is not until she gets some "missing pieces" from other people that she finds peace and healing. Is there something in your life that you can't seem to resolve? Who else might have a piece of the story that you're missing?
  2. As the Ya-Ya sisters reveal the story of Sidda’s mother, one of them comments that “In those days you never dreamed of intervening in someone else’s life, or with their children.” There is regret in her voice that she didn’t make herself available to Sidda in those years. Are there places in your life where you are withholding your compassion or your assertiveness?
  3. Viviane realizes in the film that she has spent her life protecting a soft spot within herself that in hindsight was to the detriment of everyone involved. Do you have a soft spot that your are protecting? What is the cost to you and others of this self-protective behavior.

Click here for a coaching practice related to the theme of this movie.





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