Middle aged Chris Harper (Dame Helen Mirren) and Annie Clarke (Dame Julie Walters) are best friends. They spend much of their time at their local Knapely, Yorkshire County chapter of the Women’s Institute (WI), whose motto is “enlightenment, fun, and friendship”. Although they like most of the women at the WI (the friendship part), they, but the perceived flaky Chris in particular, hold the way Marie (Geraldine James), the local President, runs the chapter with derision. They find much of what goes on there, especially the monthly presentations, banal and devoid of enlightenment and fun. Equally as banal was last year’s fund-raising calendar, featuring local bridges, which raised a meager £75.60, with this year’s proposed calendar, local churches, promising to be even more so. After Annie’s husband John (John Alderton) dies from leukemia, Chris wants the WI to provide a memorial in his memory: a new sofa for the family room at the hospital. The one Chris wants to buy costs nine …
User Reviews: Based on a true story. There is a Women’s Institute in Yorkshire England, a tiny little town. The Institute decides to raise money for new furniture for a local hospital. They decide the only way to raise money is do a nude calendar with members. The problem is all the members are 50+! The calendar is done and is a roaring success. The film focuses on some of the women and how the calendar affects their families and personal lives.
Whimsical is the best way to describe this. It’s one of those British comedies that has few laughs, but is very lighthearted and has some serious drama in it. I can’t say I loved the movie–the script, while well-written, is scattershot and the light, low-key tone was TOO low-key for me. And some story lines are brought up (one of the women has a cheating husband) and are never resolved. Still, there were some good laughs in it and there is some just beautiful views of (I’m assuming) Yorkshire. Especially incredible is a view of the entire town from on top of a huge rock overlooking the area.
Also we have some wonderful British actresses playing in the lead roles. The two best were Helen Mirren (who’s just great–again) and Julie Walters (who looks absolutely stunning). Also this is one of the few films that celebrates the sexuality of women who are 50+. How many movies do you you see like that nowadays? Of course this is a British film–Hollywood would NEVER tell a story like this. Also the film does have some fairly explicit glimpses of female nudity–but they’re not sexual in context and ARE needed for the integrity of the story.
I’m giving this a 7.