I have a built-in resistance to movies where a couple of people sit around in the present, discussing a story that took place in the past, and then we get flashbacks showing the earlier story. I usually can’t see what the point is: Why not just tell that story from the past and be done with it? And my blood always curdles a little toward the end of these flashback movies, when . . . hold on . . . can you believe it . . . the person telling the story is actually that young person from all those years ago that (gasp!) the story actually happened to! Sometimes flashbacks work. They work in «Citizen Kane,» for example. Usually they do not. Look at Bette Midler’s «For the Boys,» which creeps with unendurable inevitability to a foregone conclusion.
One of the reasons Jon Avnet’s «Fried Green Tomatoes» survives the flashback structure is that it devises an interesting character to be the listener to the long-ago tale. She is Evelyn Couch (Kathy Bates), dowdy, unhappily married, dripping with low self-esteem, who during a visit to a nursing home meets a sparkling old lady named Miz Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy).
– Roger Ebert i sin anmeldelse av Stekte grønne tomater.