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Calendar Girls (12A)



Review by: Katherine Kaminsky | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes; The Naked Truth; Creating The Calendar.

THIS true story was always going to be a winner. After much interest in the film rights from several different companies, they eventually went to Harbour Pictures (Saving Grace) and what a fantastic job they have done.

A bunch of Yorkshire lasses, who are members of the W.I. (Women's Institute), decide to do a naked calendar to raise money.

Chris (Helen Mirren) is determined to help her best friend, Annie (Julie Walters), through the worst moment of her life, when Annie's husband, John (John Alderton), dies of cancer.

Chris comes up with an idea. Do a W.I. calendar, naked, to raise money for the local hospital.

Having convinced other W.I. members that their months will be tasteful and in keeping with a W.I. theme, they set to work to find the right photographer.

Their best intentions are soon overshadowed by raised eyebrows from further afield, however, and before too long, the national press gets involved and the story makes the six o'clock news.

With the calendar being an overwhelming success, six of the women are then whisked off to Hollywood, along with their sub-plots, to be interviewed by Jay Leno.

Walters and Mirren carry the film and, along with the all-star female cast, make it happen.

Also worth mentioning are John Alderton, who makes you care in the first place, and Philip Glenister, who is great fun as the artistically enthused photographer.

Ciaran Hinds, who is everywhere right now, and deservedly so, is touching as Chris' husband, Rod, who unwittingly reveals his feelings about the calendar to a tabloid journalist, while struggling to protect their son from the media circus.

Shot on location in the stunning Yorkshire countryside, this is a romp of a film.

It is great fun to watch, whether you are a member of the W.I. or not, and athough the meetings are scarily realistic, the over-used reprise of Jerusalem could have been modified.

If you have followed the story of the Rylstone 11, you will know that half of the women involved no longer speak to the other half, allegedly provoked by the prospect of a film being made about them.

It is well worth seeing for the sheer inspiration of these brave woman, proudly turning a tragedy around with their phenomenal story and using the sunflower as a positive symbol. Instead of causing more rifts, lets hope the film helps to heal old wounds.

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