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  •  REVIEW: CALENDAR GIRLS

    Calendar Girls

    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
    Offoffoff.com

    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 celebrity.

      
    CALENDAR GIRLS
    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
    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 Knapley.

    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!

    Calendar Girls  
    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
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on Calendar Girls:

  • The Women's Institute Movie   from Sylvie, Feb 10, 2004
  • Re: The Women's Institute Movie - a reply   from Paul from Cracoe/Rylstone, Apr 7, 2004
  • Re: The WIM - a reply to a reply   from sylvie, May 28, 2004
  • [no subject]   from , Feb 14, 2004
  • safe 4 da dor stop   from acces denid, Jul 26, 2004
  • calendar   from shirley bennett, Dec 20, 2004
  • Re: calendar   from CHARLES JOHNSON, Jul 19, 2005
  • cancer raising   from Irene van der Wal, Dec 25, 2010

  • Post a comment on "Calendar Girls"