You can’t take the honky-tonk out of the girl! sweet home alabama became a classic romantic comedy almost as soon as it hit theaters in 2002, thanks to the leads’ charm and chemistry. Reese witherspoon Y jose lucas.
“Small-town girl moves to the big city and forgets her roots” is such a cliche plot at this point that it appears in about 90 percent of made-for-TV Christmas movies, but in sweet home alabama, it just works. Witherspoon plays Melanie Smooter, a New York City fashion designer who hides her origins in Pigeon Creek, Alabama, using the last name “Carmichael.”
That plan seems to be working for her until she gets engaged to Andrew Hennings (patrick dempsey), the rich son of the mayor of New York (candice bergen). The problem is that she is already married to Jake Perry (Lucas), the childhood sweetheart who was supposed to have divorced her years ago but never signed her papers. The only solution is to return to Pigeon Creek and finalize the divorce, but because it’s a romantic comedy, that’s not how things play out between Melanie and Jake.
The film is a fantasy, of course, but Witherspoon has said that Melanie’s struggles actually reflect some of her own experiences as a Louisiana-born, Tennessee-raised actress trying to make it in Hollywood.
“When I read the script, I thought, ‘Do these people know my life story?’” he said during a town hall event in 2018. A little older, you get nostalgic. When I was 18, I was like, ‘I’m out of here! I’ll never come back!'”
The Oscar winner has obviously had a change of heart, as she now shares a Nashville home with her husband, jim toth. “When I was passing sweet home alabama, I was like, ‘That’s exactly how a lot of young people feel. You want to leave home and then you realize there’s a lot of important things about being close to family or people who knew you before,'” she recalled in 2018. “And I feel like that movie really encapsulated those ideas. And it was fun. It was fun. I had a great time doing it.”
Keep scrolling to see what the cast of sweet home alabama has been doing since the movie was released in 2002: