한국 사람이 아니다 (talonvaki) wrote,
한국 사람이 아니다
talonvaki

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Calendar Girls

My solo moviegoing ventures this weekend were all about the girl power. Friday after work, I caught the bargain mat showing of Calendar Girls</i>...Now, if you've seen the preview, it looks like a little movie about some middle-aged Yorkshire women making a calendar for, for which they themselves pose nude. The calendar is to raise money for one of their husbands, who has leukaemia.

It's a lot more than that. It's about the calendar, yes...but that happens in the first half hour or so. It's mainly about what happens after the calendar comes out. Which is well after the death of the man with leukaemia (the trailer implies that he's still alive during all this). The women, their husbands and families, and in fact the entire village suddenly have to deal with worldwide fame...fame for producing a nude calendar. It's a much bigger story, really, than just some women making a calendar. It tests relationships, it tests their friendships...

And it's all true, So far, the calendar's raised over £500,000.

Helen Mirren as Chris is amazing. She's the strong, rebellious ringleader...but she's got all the same insecurities as the rest of them...she just hides it better. Julie Walters is wonderful too, as Annie, the widow. All the performances are compelling, really. Who says there's no roles for women anymore?

Saturday morning was another exercise in strong roles for women with Mona Lisa Smile. Set at Wellesley, it's the story of a slightly non-comformist California (from Oakland, no less) art history teacher trying to imbue the female students with feminism in 1953. (She's asked often how she likes the New England winter, her first. She says, everytime, that she loves it...a sentiment I completely understand, as, I too prefer the winters here to Northern California.)

Julia Roberts is both fragile and resolute, fearsome and fearful, as Katherine Watson, a teacher who wants to open the girls of Wellesley's minds to the possibilities the post war world has to offer. Trouble is, most of them are at Wellesley to earn their Mrs. degrees. Inevitibly, in this distaff Dead Poet's Society, she affects them all in various ways, their lives are all touched by her spirit and her insight, they're all changed in some way forever and, of course, they never forget her...

Julia Stiles. Kirsten Dunst. Marcia Gay Harden. Maggie Gyllenhaal. Juliet Stephenson. There's a lot of great acting in this, and a lot of great actresses. Still...it could have been better. Not sure why it's not...but somehow it just falls a bit flat. It's not as inspiring as Calendar Girls was...could it be because this is Hollywood, and that was Britian? Because the women here are airbrushed, and the women there were imperfectly perfect? Not sure...

But it's also very pretty. The period is dead-on; apart from one telephone that was obviously a reproduction, I didn't catch any mistakes. The hair, make-up and costumes are impeccable. And the music! There's some dancing scenes that will make a few of us yearn for those long-ago days of five years ago when we went out dancing every night of the week...And there are some great, great lines. In one scene, a frustrated Julia Roberts projects a slide of a girdle advertisement. "This girdle will 'set you free,'" she says. "What does that even mean? How can a girdle set you free!?" That sarcastic irony is what this movie should have had a little more of. A bit more of that, and it would have had more bite, and a little less gum.
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