Starring: Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, Penelope Wilton
Director: Nigel Cole
Running Time: 108 mins
Calendar Girls is a British film about the true story of a group of women from a village division of the Women’s Institute who decide to sell a nude calendar to raise funds after one of their members’ husband dies of cancer.
A thoroughly fun-loving comedy, Calendar Girls counts on its A-list cast and its enjoyably understated small-town characters to deliver good laughs and a pleasantly fluffy story throughout. It’s not roll-on-the-floor-laughing hilarious, but it’s a fun, light-hearted movie with a lot to make you smile.
At the centre of it all is a really strong ensemble cast, headed up by Helen Mirren and Julia Walters, who, as the story unfolds, play the chalk and cheese of the group of village women who pose naked for a calendar to raise funds in the memory of one of their members’ husband’s death.
Complete with some genuinely heartfelt drama throughout, Calendar Girls is at heart a lot more than just a throwaway ensemble comedy, and as it progresses from a fight against stuffy autocracy in the Women’s Institute to a rather thought-provoking look at the theme of celebrity, the film proves an impressively engrossing watch from start to finish.
Admittedly, there are parts of the film that lean a little too heavily on genre tropes, particularly at the cheesier, happier moments where it moves away just a bit too much from the often impressively grounded mindset of its screenplay.
But for the most part, Calendar Girls is a breath of fresh air, with its ensemble of energetic performances the icing on the cake of a film that clashes small-town life with the racy world outside.
In that, it’s very reminiscent of the movie Blow Dry, which takes a similar premise of a Yorkshire town thrust into the global spotlight because of the least Yorkshire-y kind of story. However, alongside its sweet comedy and fun performances, Calendar Girls has a little more meat to it than Blow Dry, which makes it a more engaging watch throughout.
Overall, I had a really nice time with Calendar Girls. A fun, fluffy ensemble comedy on the surface, it’s a film with a lot of heart and a lot to say too, proving a genuinely delightful and captivating watch from start to finish. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.