How about a date?
Women of a certain age make their own nude calendar with unexpected consequences in the appealing "Calendar Girls."
By MARK MARINO
You don't have to be a fan of middle-aged flesh to appreciate director
Nigel Coles' "Calendar Girls" although that certainly wouldn't hurt. Based on
a true story, the film is an entertaining dramedy that celebrates the
naked ambition of menopausal mamas and illustrates the perils of
Best friends Chris Harper (Helen Mirren) and Annie Clarke (Julie Walters)
are active members of their local Women's Institute, a staid little
organization in England's Yorkshire Dales that seeks happiness in
achievement. Members gather regularly to sing hymns, learn about the
wonders of carpeting, and hold fundraisers for their quaint village of
|Directed by: Nigel Cole.|
Written by: Juliette Towhidi, Tim Firth.
Cast: Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, John Alderton, Linda Bassett, Annette Crosbie, Philip Glenister, Ciaran Hinds, Celia Imrie, Geraldine James, Penelope Wilton.
Related links: Official site
Life is idyllic until Chris's husband, John (John Alderton), is stricken
with leukemia and dies. While Annie grieves, Chris decides to raise money
to buy a new sofa for the waiting room of the local hospital where they
sat through John's darkest hours. Chris calls on the Women's Institute to
produce a calendar for her effort. The W.I.'s previous calendars were quite
traditional, with photos of local attractions and scenery. But Chris has a
more radical idea: Inspired by the girlie magazines she found in her son's
room and the cheesecake calendar she saw at the mechanic's, she wants to
show the W.I. women performing classic tasks such as jam-making and
knitting in the buff!
The members are game, and the village is abuzz with word of their plan.
Despite the W.I. chairwoman's attempt to stop it, the calendar is printed
and is an instant success. The women become celebrities at home and
abroad, and it isn't long before Hollywood comes a-knocking with a movie
deal. The calendar girls are given first-class tickets to Los Angeles,
where they travel in limos and stay in luxury suites. Their celebrity
status is sealed with an appearance on "The Tonight Show" and a sold-out
autograph session at a local bookstore.|
But fame comes with a price. Annie resents Chris for losing sight of the
calendar's original purpose in her pursuit of celebrity. Chris, blinded by
the glitz, suddenly finds her family life falling apart. And many of the
other gals discover that a little notoriety is not necessarily a good
thing. In the end, the ladies are left questioning their decision to raise
funds by raising eyebrows.
Thanks to Mirren, Walters and a strong supporting cast of women, the film
is saved from being little more than a Lifetime Movie of the Week. The
actresses have great chemistry and provide plenty of laughs and witty
banter to offset the sometimes-melodramatic moments. Underneath it all,
this enjoyable import proves that, onscreen and off, even women of a
certain age have girl power.
|DECEMBER 31, 2003|
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calendar from shirley bennett, Dec 20, 2004
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