Shirley Valentine (1989)

 “A Grab-a-Granny Fortnight.”

shirley-valentineThe gentle comedy film Shirley Valentine is the story of an underappreciated housewife played by Pauline Collins. Shirley and her husband, Joe, live alone (the children have grown and moved away) in a pleasant home. Shirley’s main companion is the kitchen wall–and she manages to have many a one-sided conversation with the wall while she cooks the meals and dreams of a holiday in Greece. Shirley’s unhappiness and loneliness goes completely unnoticed by Joe. His main concern is the evening meal. Then Shirley’s accidental meeting with an old schoolmate, Marjorie Majors (Joanna Lumley) confirms Shirley’s sense of lost identity, and a fight with Joe sends Shirley spiralling off to Greece with feminist chum, Jane (Alison Steadman).

Shirley falls in love with Greece, but more importantly, she falls in love with herself. Along the way, she meets Costas (Tom Conti) a wily Greek restauranteur whose charming ways guarantee a holiday fling. I especially loved the characters of Dougie and Jeanette–the tedious, self-righteous married couple who try to save Shirley from herself. The characters may be ‘types’ but they are all well-done and highly believable.

The film is based on a play, and I think this shows in many of the scenes. Also, there were a few places on my video where a word uttered was dubbed for the American audience. If you enjoyed the film Educating Rita,you will no doubt enjoy this film too. It’s an upbeat, enjoyable escape with a group of likeable, entertaining characters. There is a feminist message, but it’s not overwhelming. Directed by Lewis Gilbert.

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Filed under British, Comedy

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