on 13 December 2004
Based on the book of the same name Calendar Girls is a truly marvellous film with the support of a great cast.
This is the somewhat sad story of one of the husbands of the Calendar Girls who gets cancer and when treatment fails, dies. A group of the WI women get together and produce an alternative WI Calendar and then comes the story of the calendar's success and the huge amount of money raised for cancer research.
It is difficult to say why this film is so good. Safe to say it deals with a very difficult subject with consideration but also shows that there are times of laughter as well as great sadness.
A film that I could watch again and again.
on 21 January 2006
Waited to see this DVD and wasn't disappointed. Watch the bonus bit about the background and the photographer's point of view before you see the movie as I hadn't realised it was a true story until the end. It was an amazing mix of emotion, joy, humour, drama. Wonderful casting of many gorgeous actresses who portrayed the ordinary women who made the calendar. Their husbands were also well cast. Yorkshire scenery was delightful. Helen Mirren excelled with her northern accent & Julie Walters delivered as usual. All acting faultless. A delight.
on 16 December 2003
Calendar girls is a typically Britsh film and has echoes of Full Monty running through it. However it is the excellent cast of British actresses, Julie Walters, Helen Mirren, Annette Crosbie to name but a few that really make this movie something special. You will be surprised by the number of faces that you recognise in this film, like John Alderton, and not all of them in major roles.
It has that understated quality that makes it very believable and draws the audience into the story, triggering emotions along with the experiences of the characters. There are films that have made me laugh and some that have made me cry, this is the first that did both at the same time. There are a number of human issues dealt with in the film without overt drama but in a warm and very genuine manner.
And there is most definitely humour. Definitely a British classic and one for the collection!
This is a wonderful, enjoyable film based on fact which I am sure all will enjoy. And it has the bonus of the beautiful scenery of Wharfedale, including shots of Kettlewell, Buckden and Kilnsey Crag.
It is the almost unbelievable story of a simple decision to produce a calendar in memory of Angela's husband John Baker, w the Assistant National Park Warden who, unfortunately, died at what,these days, is a young age from leukaemia. The calendar was intended to be just for local interest but as we all now know became a best seller here and in the USA with
profits going to leukaemia research.
Although there is the sadness of John's death the film is by no means without humour from summoning up the initial courage to strip for the calendar to their experiences in America.
The film has particular memories for me because I was priviledged to know John from him being about 14 years of age. When we moved into our previous house John and his parents lived opposite to us and John used to deliver our copy of the local evening newspaper. We saw him grow up, go to university, get married to Angela and, in due course, bring his children to visit his parents.
The stars play these sensitive parts wonderfully and believably. And, if you look carefully, you will see some of the original calendar girls in two or three of the crowd scenes.
DVD buyers will have the additional treat of seeing interviews with some of the original 'girls', including Angela, in their own homes. Their efforts have now raised more than £1,000,000 for LEUKAEMIA RESEARCH.
Many other charities have gained by the 'copy cats' who, seeing the success of the Rylstone WI calendar, have also stripped off too produce calendars.
I am sure you will enjoy this film. It is one which you can watch more than once.
In 1999, eleven members of the District Women's Institute in Rylstone, North Yorkshire, England posed starkers on a year 2000 calendar printed up to collect funds to benefit leukemia research after the death of John Baker, Assistant National Park Officer for the Yorkshire Dales and husband of WI member Angela, of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1998. What made the venture unusual was that the models were all just local ladies in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. In the UK, 88,000 copies were eventually sold, and 250,000 in the States. CALENDAR GIRLS, based on this story, has been characterized by a principal as about 75% accurate in the re-telling, with the remainder being scriptwriter's embellishment for comedic or dramatic effect. The original idea for the calendar was suggested by Angela's friend, Tricia Stewart.
In the film adaptation, Helen Mirren plays Chris Harper (based on real-life Tricia Stewart) and Julie Walters and John Alderton play Annie and John Clark respectively (based on Angela and John Baker). The calendar saga, from conception to realization and international fame, is centered in the fictional village of Knapley. Harper originally gets the idea after 1) finding a soft porn magazine hidden in her teenage son's room and 2) noticing a girlie calendar on the wall of a village shop. The plan is to produce and sell 500 copies of the calendar to raise the 900 pounds necessary to buy a new sofa for the Relatives' Waiting Room in the local hospital in which John Clark died of his disease. Not only must Chris and Annie surmount the understandable reluctance of their friends and fellow WI members to pose nude (not "naked"), but also convince the chairwomen of the District and National WI that the reputation of the organization won't be sullied.
There is, of course, some nudity in the film, but, as on the calendar itself, it's discreetly done. The naughty bits are strategically hidden by sticky buns, flowering plants, and such. But enough of Helen Mirren is seen for the viewer to realize that physical beauty and maturity of "that certain age" are not mutually incompatible.
Though the script touches on such sober subjects as teenage drug use and spousal infidelity, the film as a whole is delightfully witty, charming, warm, and poignant. And then there are the beautiful Yorkshire towns and fells in which the movie was shot. Is this one of the year's best films? No. Is it a great cinematic achievement? No again. But, I'm giving it five stars anyway because, as an entertainment vehicle, it's everything I ask for when I go to a motion picture show. I sat and watched with a silly smile on my face for almost the entire run time, and left the cinema in no way unsatisfied. What more could one reasonably want?
on 16 August 2005
I sadly lost my Mum last year to cancer, she was only young and a very loving mum, she was my best friend. Mum always wanted to watch this fantastic and touching film but sadly never got the opportunity so I did so on her behalf. It is a film I will watch over. This film is a must have for anyone who has been through the same thing. Overall, prepare to have the tissues at the ready as you will cry and laugh at the same time. Superb acting, based on a true story and will be an absolute classic. Now where can I buy the calendar?!
on 9 August 2005
Very powerful & definitely thought provoking. What a marvellous achievement to come out of a tradgedy. Not to mention brave women & inspiring stuff!
It made myself & my husband laugh lots but it also made me cry at times, partly due to close association.
A story that should to be told - brilliant!
on 15 December 2003
the storyline is amazingly funny, sad and exciting all at the same time! It is one not to miss! It creates such a euphoria that you will want the challenge of re-creating the storyline yourself, as it can be done! It makes you feel good to live in Britain. The actresses are fabulous and each of their lives will touch you, when you finish watching the movie, it will be one that you watch year after year.
It took me a long time to watch this movie.
I knew about the story but didn't really fancy it, and I am so glad I overcame my prejudices.
The movie is a touching story of a woman's attempt's (Julie Walters) with the help of her friend (Helen Mirren) to overcome the loss of her husband (Brilliantly acted by John Alderton) to cancer and raise some cash for the local hospital. This they did by posing nude for the local Women's Institue calendar...the rest as they say is history.
The movie is funny, touching, inspirational and pure dead brilliant.
If you haven't seen it - rent it without delay.
So far the calendar and offshoots have raised £1,500, 000 and a new cancer wing for the hospital...
Calendar Girls is a sweet and uplifting comedy based on a true story. Set in the picturesque village of Napely, we meet 50-something best friends Chris (Helen Miren) and Annie (Julie Walters). They belong to the local Women's Institute, which is staid and traditional, and to them, boring and silly. (Their annual fund-raising event is selling a calendar with photos of jams and flowers.) When Annie's beloved husband dies from cancer, some of the club members decide to raise money for a new sofa in the hospital waiting room by selling a calendar featuring themselves in the (gasp!) nude.
Helen Miren is great as the feisty and opinionated Chris, whose involvement alienates her family. Julie Walters is very likeable and sympathetic as the new widow. Handsome Ciaran Hinds, who has starred in many period films, has a small but good role as Chris' husband.
Most of the movie is beautifully photographed in rural England and is simply idyllic. This is in sharp contrast to the unsavory scenes filmed in Hollywood (when the ladies appear on The Tonight Show.) The story is heartwarming, but avoids being syrupy. The nude scenes are tastefully done, and played for laughs, as one would expect. The real calendar, by the way, has so far raised enough for a new cancer hospital wing (and the new sofa). I heartily recommend this refreshing and well-made comedy.