Calandar Girls

Director: Nigel Cole

U.K-U.S.A.| 2003. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 108 min.

Helen Mirren and Julie Walters head a marvellous cast of English character actresses in director Nigel Cole’s engaging Calendar Girls, a truly ‘feel-good’ movie of easy charm and warm good humour. Sentimental but never mawkish, this ensemble comedy is distinguished by the presence of the extraordinary Helen Mirren, playing the uninhibited and wisecracking antithesis of her workaholic Prime Suspect heroine. Frankly middle-aged and proud of it, she’s far sexier than starlets a third of her age as the Yorkshire housewife baring all for a good cause. The film, which is inspired by a true story that made headlines in 2000, takes place largely in the sleepy little Yorkshire town of Rylstone. When the husband of her best friend Annie (Walters) dies of leukaemia, Mirren pitches a scandalous idea to raise money for the local hospital’s cancer ward: a nude calendar featuring members of the Women’s Institute. After much coaxing and several glasses of red wine, several of the prim members drop their robes for the calendar, which becomes an international media sensation. The annual Bealtaine strives to make the arts more accessible to older people. Co-ordinated by Access Cinema and the IFI, this year’s film tour will travel to over 26 venues around the country. More information about the tour can be found on the Access Cinema website (www.accesscinema.ie).

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