Dave and Rachel's movie reviews.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Calendar Girls

Year: 2003
Running time: 108 minutes
Certificate: 12
Language: English
Screenplay: Juliette Towhidi, Tim Firth
Director: Nigel Cole
Starring: Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, John Alderton, Linda Bassett, Annette Crosbie, Philip Glenister, Ciaran Hinds, Celia Imrie, Geraldine James, Penelope Wilton 

The first of the girls to disrobe gets plenty of moral support.
Calendar Girls is based on the true story of a group of WI women who decided to do something a little different for their yearly calendar in order to raise money for a worthy cause. They decided to strip for it. Chris (Helen Mirren) and Annie (Julie Walters) are lifelong best friends who are members of their local WI group. While they are good friends with a number of the other women at the group, they do express a frustration with the relentlessly dull meetings and guest speakers on subjects such as rugs (in fact, all kinds of carpeting - "Oh, thank god for that" mutters Chris sarcastically under her breath). So you've got a frankly wonderful leading pair in Mirren and Walters who can bring both comedic and dramatic chops to their roles in spades.

When Annie's husband John (John Alderton) dies of cancer she is determined to raise money for a memorial, and they hit upon the idea of making the yearly calendar a little more interesting. It's a giant success, hearts are warmed and everybody's happy. There is more to it - Calendar Girls shares DNA with other recent comedy hits uniquely British like The Full Monty and Billy Elliot, and like those films, it will not appeal to everybody. Walters is so good that Annie, while mostly fairly positive gives small hints at the deep grief hidden just under the surface and the support cast are all engaging.
Annie and Chris discuss the fruits of their labour.

The film manages to hold the attention for the first two thirds, but it does lose something when the girls become famous and go to Hollywood to be exposed to the evils of American corporate advertising, but this doesn't detract too much from the film as a whole.

Not a bad film, but won't be everybody's cup of tea.

Score: 6/10

This review by Cidtalk rates the film more highly than I do, and Peter at The Guardian also has positive things to say.