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Calendar Girls: Film review

Updated on August 16, 2015
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Laugh and cry with the Calendar Girls

This film tells a bizarre but true story. It will make you laugh and cry. It's truly wonderful.

In England, there is a rather dotty organization called the Women's Institute. (I believe it originated in Canada).

Set up in the UK in 1915, it comprises groups of women, largely from small villages and rural areas. Traditionally, these women bake cakes, make jam, hold garden parties and fetes - all good, domesticated country pursuits.

And the ladies are ultimately respectable.

So how did a group of mature ladies end up making a nude calendar?

This film is pretty close to the real story which happened in Yorkshire in the late 1990s. One member's husband died of cancer and her friend, also a WI member, wanted to raise funds to buy a new sofa for the hospital waiting room.

A bake sale? Knitting demonstrations? Flower show?

No, the group of genteel country ladies, aged between forty five and around sixty five, decided to create a nude calendar. Yep, nude.

Tragedy, friendship, fame and Yorkshire humour

This film recreates their story.The filmmakers recruited some of the best actresses 'of a certain age' and tells the story of John's illness, the determination to earn money for charity and the often hilarious making of the calendar itself.

I'm sure you can imagine a dozen genteel ladies and the difficulties - and fun - they had baring all.

Fame followed

Just as in real life, the film shows how the calendar exploded in popularity and became known all over the world. The Calendar Girls were even flown to the United States to appear on chat shows.

But at what price?

Well, how would you feel if your mother or grandmother was on a nude calendar that sold millions? And then she appeared on international television? Guys, how would you feel if one of the bare naked ladies was your wife? The film explored these circumstances, problems and feelings but retains its sense of humour and fun.

The photo-shoot

You'll love this clip and it will give you some idea what to expect from the film.

By the way, if you've got a child looking over your shoulder, don't worry - you won't see any naughty bits.

Below you'll see that it had been arranged, that to preserve that ladies' modesty, the photographer would set up the shot whilst the calendar girl in question was wearing a dressing gown.

He would then leave the room, the lady would remove her robe and one of her colleagues would click the shutter.

Hmm. Would this work?

The significance of the sunflowers

Did you notice in the video above that each photograph features a sunflower? Why is this?

This is not something that was invented by the writers who created the screenplay - this was a feature of the real calendar.

The film is based on John Baker, who died of leukemia. He loved flowers and was particularly fond of sunflowers. See the quote below from the film.

In the film, as in real life, the goal of the fundraising effort was simply to buy a new sofa for the hospital waiting room.

Annie was spending a great deal of time there whilst her husband was being treated and her friends simply wanted to make life more comfortable for her.

Once he had passed away, Annie too became concerned about those who were in the same position she had been in... these people were suffering the anxiety of knowing that their loved ones might not survive this dreaful disease. Couldn't they even have a comfortable place to sit?

That was the original goal.They achieved so much more.

See the screenshot below.

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    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      I love the scene where the old gentleman says to his wife 'Oh look dear, you're nude in the Telegraph. Pass the marmalade would you?'

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @sousababy: Personally, I love the idea!!!

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 

      4 years ago

      This was very popular around my neck of the woods. Even though the WI began in Canada (Stoney Creek, Ontario) in 1897, it was clearly the bold, gutsy women of Yorkshire who were the brainchild behind this one. Hmmm, wonder if a Squidoo Calendar Girls might be a good idea - any thoughts?

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Margaret Schindel: It does seem that we like the same movies, doesn't it? I do hope that you're right and that other people will see it and love it was much as I do.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts

      One of my favorite movies (along with The Full Monty). Apparently our tastes in movies are very similar! This one is funny, charming, sassy, and thoroughly delightful. I hope your review will encourage more people to see it.

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