Sunday, January 30, 2005

Calendar Girls—Moving and FUNNY!


The very ordinary ladies who meet each Thursday at the Women's Institute in rural Yorkshire for "jam and Jerusalem" are the last people you would suspect of radical ideas. Middle-aged and settled in their ways, they are school-teachers, church organists, present-day mums and wives, whose lives have run until now in a very narrow rut.

True enough, Chris (played by Helen Mirrim) and her friends Annie (Julie Walters, lately seen as Mrs. Weasley in Harry Potter movies) and Ruth are an informal cabal arrayed against the WI president and her "high elite" cronies. But theirs is a rebellion that consists mostly of whispering during lectures on broccoli and tea-towels, performing tai-chi on a Yorkshire hilltop, and submitting a store-bought sponge cake at the annual fair.

Annie's husband drops the opening salvo in the real war when he discloses that he has been diagnosed with a particularly nasty kind of cancer. If she wants him to present a talk to her WI group, he informs her, she'd better book him quick. He even has the intro ready:
The women of Yorkshire are like the flowers of Yorkshire. Every stage of their lives is more full of beauty than the previous one, and the last stage is the most glorious.
     And after that, they go to seed.

After he dies, Chris has an idea to raise money for a memorial for him: the ladies of the WI will do an art calendar in the style of the calendars each district does every year. But this calendar will be sans fig leaf. "Not naked," she hastens to add in pitching the idea to her friends, "NUDE."

And what is the difference between porn and art? "It's obvious," is the school-teacher's pronouncement. "That would be an artist." They will need to battle their own doubts about posing with the male photographer in the room. They will face resistance from the "high elite" of the WI and from their husbands and children. And they will struggle to find props large enough to strategically cover their... assets.

The tale of how these ladies pursue their idea, step up to the plate to execute it, and manage to pull it off is simply heart-warming. Warning to the ladies: My spouse reminded me today that this is a "three hanky movie." Don't sit down to watch it unprepared.


Blogger samraat said...

4/03/2010 9:28 PM  

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