January 20, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 60  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Old nude chicks strike a pose


Calendar Girls

Starring: Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, John Alderton
Directed by: Nigel Cole

Benjamin Mann
Gazette Writer

Put on your favourite brooch, don a top hat, grab your cane, hop in your Cadillac DeVille and head off to the theatre — Calendar Girls is playing.

Gazette File Photo
EXCITED OLD LADIES PREPARE TO TAKE IT OFF. One camera, one photographer and 12 mature woman equals an interesting story in Calendar Girls.

This lighthearted British comedy-drama involves 11 women who pose nude in a calendar to raise money to buy a couch at the local hospital. The movie is set in the beautiful town of Knapely, England and centres around lifelong friends Chris (Mirren) and Annie (Walters), who are prominent members in the local Women’s Institute, a very dull women’s group.

When Annie’s husband John dies of cancer, the group rallies with Chris and Annie to raise money. Their goal is to buy a couch for the relatives’ room at the hospital, where John spent his last days. Acting on a poem written by John on his death bed, quoting “women of Yorkshire are like the flowers of Yorkshire, the last phase is the most glorious,” the women decide to take off their clothes and pose for a calendar.

Once published, the women are thrust into a worldwide spotlight (including a spot on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno) and are able to raise an exceptional amount of money for the battle against leukemia.

Mirren, who may end up with an Oscar nomination, gives an inspired performance as a very likable and eccentric woman who could be seen as a shoulder to cry on just as easily as she could be sought out to partake in a devious scheme.

As a grieving widow, Walters’ sob story allows the audience to feel bad for her; however, as the movie progresses, she begins to interfere with the promotion of the calendar, thus becoming annoying and self-centred.

A great supporting role is delivered by Penelope Wilton. Wilton played Ruth, a very timid housewife; the kind of woman that could disappear and likely not be noticed for days on end. Her posing in the calendar is like a liberation from her dull existence.

In addition to being a half decent movie, Calendar Girls is based on a true story where the real women of Knapely raised £578,000 allowing them to buy their local hospital a new leukemia wing.

 

 

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