Calendar Girls

Movie Information

The Hendersonville Film Society will show Calendar Girls at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, in the Smoky Mountain Theater at Lake Pointe Landing Retirement Community, 333 Thompson St., Hendersonville. (From Asheville, take I-26 to U.S. 64 West, turn right at the third light onto Thompson Street. Follow to the Lake Point Landing entrance and park in the lot on the left.)
Genre: Comedy
Director: Nigel Cole
Starring: Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, John Adlerton, Linda Bassett
Rated: PG-13

When I first reviewed this unassuming—and thoroughly pleasant—fact-based British comedy from the beginning of 2004, I gave it four stars and noted that I’d be revisiting it more than once. Well, things happened and this is the first time I got around to revisiting it. This tale of a group of middle-aged (and upward) women who opted to create a pinup calendar (more cheesecake than nudity) for charity still has its charms—mostly in the person of Helen Mirren—but I tend to think I overstated them at the time.

The more-than-a-little clichéd plot that is grafted onto the story’s facts to give them dramatic form felt more forced this time. (In reality, there were no objections to the calendar from the onset.) The largely style-free direction of Nigel Cole also does the film no favors. The script still has its share of bright lines and the performers are all pleasant, even when the characters sometimes fall into the realm of Britcom Eccentrics 101. In the end, I think, Calendar Girls is probably just one of those movies that works fine on a single viewing, but doesn’t offer much on a second look. So if you’ve never seen it, it’s certainly worth your while, but if you have, don’t expect fireworks—just a nice little movie.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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