Helen Mirren, Julie Waters, Linda Bassett, Annette Crosbie, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton
Tim Firth and Juliette Towhidi
Buena Vista Pictures
Call me crazy but I love movies about old people. They just seem more interesting,
more mature. A person can only stand so many films agonizing about the confusion
and reckless fecklessness of youth before reaching the breaking point. Perhaps,
that’s why Calendar Girls drew me in with its witty group of
English gals, a comedy billed as the female The
I was all set to be impressed by this true story of the members of a Women’s
Institute of North Yorkshire. These women pooled their resourcefulness to bare
it all for a nude calendar they hoped would raise money for the hospital where
one member’s husband was dying of cancer. The true story is fun, sad and
brave, everything that the film captures manages to capture only briefly in
scenes that depict the real life experiences of the members.
Calendar Girls is at its height when all the fuss is over and the
women finally come together to create a beautiful calendar. The calendar is
beautiful and artistic. The actresses are stunning and humorous as they overcome
their bashfulness to bare it all collectively. It is unfortunate that the height
of the film lands right smack in the middle, leaving the rest unbearably dull.
I love British comedies like Love
Weddings and a Funeral, The
Full Monty and Bridget
Jones’s Diary. I could spend hours naming some others. I had
hoped to add Calendar Girls to the list. But it is almost too British
in a sense. The slang and its inflections are almost wholly inaccessible to
American audiences that don’t own a copy of The American-British British-American
Dictionary. I found myself debating whether or not to watch the film with subtitles.
After the world is whipped into media frenzy over the calendars, Calendar
Girls too quickly becomes more of a judgment about how 15 minutes of fame
can go to your head than a lovely tale featuring middle-aged nudity. Helen Mirren
and Julie Walters carry the film fantastically but their performances are easy
to overlook when the film begins to spiral into sluggishness.
The is sweet and unexpectedly funny at times, but you have to endure the more
unfunny times to get to them. The phrase of the day in Calendar Girls
is “the last phase is the most glorious.” Unfortunately, the last
phase of the film is anything but glorious. Only about 15 minutes of the film
is glorious. This is disappointing, as the film runs 108 minutes long.
The featurettes are a mite more captivating than the film. Calendar Girls was
obviously fun to work on behind-the-scenes. In “The Naked Truth,”
the “girls” behind the real calendar offer insight into their story.
Meanwhile, “Creating the Calendar” gives the actresses, production
photographer and director the chance to offer theirs.