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Calendar Girls 2003 PG-13 CC

A refined women's club raises money by selling a risqu calendar.

Starring:
Helen Mirren, Julie Walters
Runtime:
1 hour, 48 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Nigel Cole
Starring Helen Mirren, Julie Walters
Supporting actors John Alderton, Linda Bassett, Annette Crosbie, Philip Glenister, Ciarán Hinds, Celia Imrie, Geraldine James, Penelope Wilton, George Costigan, Graham Crowden, John Fortune, Georgie Glen, Angela Curran, Rosalind March, John-Paul Macleod, Marc Pickering, John Sharian, Belinda Everett
Studio Touchstone Pictures
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Calendar Girls is a sweet and uplifting British comedy based on a true story. Set in the picturesque village of Napely, we meet 50-something best friends Chris (Helen Miren) and Annie (Julie Walters). They belong to the local Women's Institute, which is staid and traditional, and to them, boring and silly. (Their annual fund-raising event is selling a calendar with photos of jams and flowers.) When Annie's beloved husband dies from cancer, some of the club members decide to raise money for a new sofa in the hospital waiting room by selling a calendar featuring themselves in the (gasp!) nude.

Helen Miren is great as the feisty and opinionated Chris, whose involvement alienates her family. Julie Walters is very likeable and sympathetic as the new widow. Ciaran Hinds, who has starred in many period films, has a small but good role as Chris' husband.

Most of the movie is beautifully photographed in rural England and it is simply idyllic. This is in sharp contrast to the unsavory scenes filmed in Hollywood (when the ladies appear on The Tonight Show.) The story is heartwarming, but avoids being syrupy. The nude scenes are tastefully done, and played for laughs, as one would expect. The real calendar, by the way, has so far raised $1.6M for a new cancer hospital wing (and the new sofa). I heartily recommend this refreshing and well-made comedy.
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In 1999, eleven members of the District Women's Institute in Rylstone, North Yorkshire, England posed starkers on a year 2000 calendar printed up to collect funds to benefit leukemia research after the death of John Baker, Assistant National Park Officer for the Yorkshire Dales and husband of WI member Angela, of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1998. What made the venture unusual was that the models were all just local ladies in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. In the UK, 88,000 copies were eventually sold, and 250,000 in the States. CALENDAR GIRLS, based on this story, has been characterized by a principal as about 75% accurate in the re-telling, with the remainder being scriptwriter's embellishment for comedic or dramatic effect. The original idea for the calendar was suggested by Angela's friend, Tricia Stewart.
In the film adaptation, Helen Mirren plays Chris Harper (based on real-life Tricia Stewart) and Julie Walters and John Alderton play Annie and John Clark respectively (based on Angela and John Baker). The calendar saga, from conception to realization and international fame, is centered in the fictional village of Knapley. Harper originally gets the idea after 1) finding a soft porn magazine hidden in her teenage son's room and 2) noticing a girlie calendar on the wall of a village shop. The plan is to produce and sell 500 copies of the calendar to raise the 900 pounds necessary to buy a new sofa for the Relatives' Waiting Room in the local hospital in which John Clark died of his disease. Not only must Chris and Annie surmount the understandable reluctance of their friends and fellow WI members to pose nude (not "naked"), but also convince the chairwomen of the District and National WI that the reputation of the organization won't be sullied.
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By Shaz on January 3, 2004
The film is based on the true story of the women of the Rylstone Women's Institute in North Yorkshire, England. Tired of having the same boring speakers (who delve into the fascinating world of rag rugs, or the different species of broccoli), member Annie (Julie Walters, "Billy Elliot") asks her husband John, an avid horticulturist, to speak at the institute. John, however, is battling luekemia, and before he can do his speech, he passes away. Annie and longtime pal Chris (Helen Mirren of "Gosford Park") decided to raise money to replace the hideously uncomfortable sofa in the relatives room of the hospital wing John was treated at. But another WI calendar featuring jams, flowers, or the countryside? That barely raised 75 pounds the previous year!
Something in John's WI speech motivates Chris; "The flowers of Yorkshire are like the women of Yorkshire", he wrote. "In each phase of their lives, they become more radiant". This impowers Chris and Annie to recruit 10 more WI members to strip down to the buff and pose for a professional photographer. The pictures turn out great, but the girls face trouble when their local WI branch president wants to put a stop to what she feels is a scandalous idea. Chris and Annie have to fight the head WI counsel, and each other, as their popularity grows. They go from Yorkshire, to the Jay Leno show in L.A. (where they lounge by their hotel pool with Anthrax!), and back again. But the huge success of the calendar begins to distract Chris from her family responsibilities, and threatens to put up a hedge between her and Annie. Helen Mirren gives a wonderful performance, and is well deserving of the Golden Globe she has been nominated for. A film not to be missed. For those who whine about having to see women over 50 in the nude, you've missed the point. Personally, I think these women look pretty darn great for their age!
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Format: DVD
I don't think "Calender Girls" got ever got the credit it deserved. The movie had all the important elements to make it a hit. It was funny, sad, daring, creative, unique, a true story and it had partial nudity. What was missing was special effects, improbable story lines, obnoxious characters and expensive sets, all things I do well without. Helen Mirren (Prime Suspect 1-6, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Gosford Park, Raising Helen) and Julie Walters (Harry Potter, Educating Rita) were fantastic and exuded beauty that transcends beyond age. This is an uplifting movie that I first rented but then bought to keep in my collection. It's not just for baby boomers and above, both my kids, ages 15 and 10 enjoyed it too. My ten year old, a boy, roars with belly laughter at the movie's most famous line

"I think we're going to need significantly bigger buns."

This is a must-see for anyone who has ever truly loved a woman. "Calendar Girls" makes a great Mother's Day gift too!
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