Monday, January 19, 2004

it takes a villaqe

We saw Calendar Girls this afternoon, a semi-fictional re-telling of the true life story of North Yorkshire women and their creation of a calendar, featuring themselves posed in the nude, as a fundraising effort.

The always wonderful Helen Mirren and the almost equally lovely Julie Waters star as the ringleaders for their local chapter of the Women's Institute (in America think of a version of Daughters of American Revolution, Federation of Women's Clubs, or Garden Clubs). The moral is light (Yorkshire women are like its flowers, improving at each stage... ). The calendar project allows these individuals to reclaim their humanity, triumph over the expectations assigned them by life. Linda Bassett was particularly good as the church organist, as was Annette Crosby as a patrician-like, no nonsense older lady.

This movie falls in the sub-genre of movies set in wacky villages of the British Isles where eccentrics defy logic and tradition, and plain folk show a tremendous amount of spunkiness, leaving us with the impression that there is a lot of spirit in these small rural places. Bill Forsyth's Local Hero, made in 1983, is the best in this category. 1998's Waking Ned Devine, actually set in Ireland, is a fairly recent entry, too.

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