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Irina Palm

24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Marianne Faithfull stars as Maggie, a middle-aged widow who, desperate to raise money to pay for her grandson`s medical bills, takes a hostess job in a sex club. She soon transforms herself into the much sought after and highly paid Irina Palm, the best right hand in London. Along with her new persona, Maggie gains renewed self-confidence, realizing she is not as old and unattractive as she thought. But her two worlds collide as her clandestine existence provokes the suspicions of her family and inquisitive neighbors alike.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jenny Agutter, Marianne Faithfull, Miki Manojlovic, Meg Wynn Owen, Kevin Bishop
  • Directors: Sam Garbarski
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Strand Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: August 12, 2008
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0017YWUS8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,396 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Irina Palm" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 26, 2008
Format: DVD
IRINA PALM may be a film too many people will overlook, thinking it either empty headed or pornographic. But word of mouth should correct those misconceptions, as this little quiet film is a tender story of an aging woman's sacrifices and healthy outlook in the face of adversity. IRINA PALM is that happy marriage of comedy and drama, a heartwarming tale that leaves the viewer with both a smile and a tear.

Written by Director Sam Garbarski with Martin Herron and Phillipe Blasband, IRINA PALM is the story of a widowed grandmother Maggie (Marianne Faithfull in a luminous performance) whose young grandson Ollie (Corey Burke) is gravely ill. Maggie's son Tom (Kevin Bishop) and daughter-in-law Sarah (Siobhan Hewlett) cannot afford the transfer from England to Australia where the young lad could undergo curative treatment. Maggie decides she must find a job - a daunting task for an older woman with no particular job training - to make the treatment affordable. After numerous rejections from employment agencies, she spies a Sex Shop advertising for 'hostesses'. Thinking that designation means serving tea, etc, she enters the shady establishment and is interviewed by the owner Miki (Miki Manojlovic), a gentle man who gently describes the type of employment: Maggie would sit in a room and provide simple masturbation through a glory hole for anonymous clients. At first shocked by the job description, she in desperation investigates the business with the help of her soon to be best friend Luisa (Dorka Gryllus), and accepts the job with reservations. To her surprise (and the surprise of Miki and Luisa) Maggie gains a loyal following of customers, so much so that she is given the name 'Irina Palm'.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Roland E. Zwick on July 28, 2010
Format: DVD
Desperate to earn money so her critically ill grandson can have a much-needed operation, a modest and reserved middle-aged widow finds a job "pleasuring" men through a hole in the wall of a sleazy London strip joint. Before you know it, Maggie is doing quite the little business (years of not doing manual labor have apparently paid off), with a steady stream of satisfied customers queuing up outside her cubicle, and a boss more than satisfied with the money she`s bringing in. She's even adopted a stage name, Irina Palm, renowned for having the "smoothest" hand in the business. But hiding the truth from her son and daughter-in-law and her snooty, gossipy friends becomes a daily challenge for Maggie as she debases herself for a noble cause.

Despite its rather - um, shall we say "touchy" subject matter - "Irina Palm" is a warm human drama about a woman willing to go to any lengths to help a person she loves. But that's only the glass-half-empty aspect of the story for, in a bizarre sort of way, this turns out to be one of the best things that's ever happened to Maggie. Indeed, her willingness to meet life on its own terms - then, eventually, her own - opens up whole new possibilities for Maggie as an individual, possibilities that have hitherto remained unrealized due to the various social roles and conduct restrictions that have been imposed upon her throughout the course of her life. Her new job gives her a type of freedom she's never had before, simply because it is she and she alone who is now determining what course that life will take.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Leigh Anne Dear on June 14, 2010
Format: DVD
Long ago I used to listen to the music of Marianne Faithfull so when I accidentally began watching this movie I continued watching not out of nostalgia but because of the enchanting, gentle nature of this middle-class widowed grandmother and her desperate approach to lessening her family's financial burden. My attention was not due solely to the subject matters obvious humor (including the interesting clash of stereo-types) but because of Irena's quietly persistent and dignified manner in seeing her idea through until her financial goal was achieved at which time her grandson then had a real shot at being cured of cancer. Faithfull truly acted the part and the story lines never let her down nor diminished her in stature despite the obvious attempt of others to do so once the true nature of her work was revealed. A touching but very funny story (although admitably not meant for the prudish or those who easily censure others without understanding).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on January 11, 2011
Format: DVD
"Irina Palm" is a fascinating, if somewhat stilted, exploration of mother love and sacrifice. We've certainly seen many similar cinematic journeys where women turn to the sex trade out of financial desperation. However, I think it's fair to say that we've never seen a protagonist quite like Irina Palm. What might have been a tawdry example of excess in someone else's hands is kept refreshingly honest in Sam Garbarski's understated direction. With the camera lingering on the contours of star Marianne Faithfull's lived-in face, it is clear that "Irina Palm" hopes for an intimate character study as opposed to a lurid expose of its colorful setting. And it is these choices, in the long run, which cause "Irina Palm" to stand out with a surprising amount of dignity.

Faithfull stars as a grandmother devoted to her family. As her grandson is in the hospital with a rather vaguely defined condition, they get the devastating news that the illness is worsening. An experimental treatment is available but it will cost a lot of money to finance. Desperate and willing to make any sacrifice for the boy, Faithfull ends up accepting the job as hostess in a neighborhood sex club. As we all know, and as the proprietor explains to the rather innocent Faithfull, hostess is just a euphemism for a rather more hands-on experience. Initially wary, money wins out. But a greater transformation is within grasp. Having always defined herself through others, the job soon becomes a liberation of sorts--especially as she rises to the heights of her chosen profession under the stage name of Irina Palm.

I appreciated the unusual positioning that "Irina Palm" takes. Faithfull, through the course of her sacrifice, is snapped back into the land of the living--realizing her worth as an individual.
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