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Calendar Girls

Calendar Girls

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Calendar Girls is a 2003 comedy film
Comedy film
Comedy film is a genre of film in which the main emphasis is on humour. They are designed to elicit laughter from the audience. Comedies are mostly light-hearted dramas and are made to amuse and entertain the audiences...

 directed by Nigel Cole
Nigel Cole
Nigel Cole is a British film and television director.Cole began his career in the 1980s, directing current affairs shows and documentaries for Central Independent Television. Into the 1990s, Cole co-wrote the play Sod with Arthur Smith, which he also directed and presented at the Pleasance during...

. Produced by Buena Vista International and Touchstone Pictures
Touchstone Pictures
Touchstone Pictures is an American film production label and is one of several film labels of the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group. Established in 1984, its releases typically feature more mature themes and darker tones than those that are released under the Walt Disney Pictures banner.Touchstone...

, it features a screenplay
Screenplay
A screenplay or script is a written work that is made especially for a film or television program. Screenplays can be original works or adaptations from existing pieces of writing. In them, the movement, actions, expression, and dialogues of the characters are also narrated...

 by Tim Firth
Tim Firth
Tim Firth is an English dramatist, screenwriter and songwriter.Tim Firth was born, and has lived all his life in, the North West of England on the border of Cheshire and Lancashire...

 and Juliette Towhidi based on a true story of a group of Yorkshire
Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

 women who produced a nude calendar
Nude calendar
Nude calendars are a special type of wall calendars or table calendars. Nude calendars have proliferated in recent decades and some have become greatly anticipated annual traditions...

 to raise money for Leukaemia Research under the auspices of the Women's Institutes in April 1999.

Starring an ensemble cast
Ensemble cast
An ensemble cast is made up of cast members in which the principal actors and performers are assigned roughly equal amounts of importance and screen time in a dramatic production. This kind of casting became more popular in television series because it allows flexibility for writers to focus on...

 headed by Helen Mirren
Helen Mirren
Dame Helen Mirren, DBE is an English actor. She has won an Academy Award for Best Actress, four SAG Awards, four BAFTAs, three Golden Globes, four Emmy Awards, and two Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Awards.-Early life and family:...

 and Julie Walters
Julie Walters
Julie Walters, CBE is an English actress and novelist. She came to international prominence in 1983 for Educating Rita, performing in the title role opposite Michael Caine. It was a role she had created on the West End stage and it won her BAFTA and Golden Globe awards for Best Actress...

, with Linda Bassett
Linda Bassett
Linda Bassett is an English actress, who is well known in the United Kingdom for her film career.Bassett was born in Kent, England to a typist mother and a police officer father. Her roles include the award-winning part of Ella Khan in the 1999 British comedy film East is East...

, Annette Crosbie
Annette Crosbie
Annette Crosbie, OBE is a Scottish character actor.-Life and career:Crosbie was born in Gorebridge, Midlothian, Scotland, to Presbyterian parents who disapproved of her becoming an actor. Nevertheless, she joined the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School while still in her teens...

, Celia Imrie
Celia Imrie
Celia Diana Savile Imrie is an English actress. In a career starting in the early 1970s, Imrie has played Marianne Bellshade in Bergerac, Philippa Moorcroft in Dinnerladies, Miss Babs in Acorn Antiques, Diana Neal in After You've Gone and Gloria Millington in Kingdom...

, Penelope Wilton
Penelope Wilton
Penelope Alice Wilton, OBE is an English actress.-Life and career:Penelope Alice Wilton was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, to a former actress mother and a businessman father. She is a niece of actors Bill Travers and Linden Travers and a cousin of the actor Richard Morant...

, and Geraldine James
Geraldine James
Geraldine James, OBE is an English actress.-Early life and family:James was born in Maidenhead, Berkshire, to a cardiologist father...

 playing key supporting roles, the film garnered generally positive reactions by film critics, and at a budget of $10 million it became a major success, eventually grossing $96,000,000 worldwide following its theatrical release in the United States. In addition, the picture was awarded by the British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Film, and spawned ALFS Award Empire Award, Satellite Award and Golden Globe nominations for Mirren and Walters respectively.

In 2008, the film was adapted into a stage play
Calendar Girls (play)
Calendar Girls is a stage play based on the film of the same nameAfter a successful tryout at the Chichester Festival Theatre and a lengthy national tour, a stage adaptation of the film started previewing in April 2009 at the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End. The cast included Lynda Bellingham,...

.

Plot


When Annie Clarke's husband John dies from leukaemia
Leukemia
Leukemia or leukaemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells called "blasts". Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases...

 at an early age, her close friend Chris Harper, anxious to purchase a comfortable sofa for the visitors lounge in the hospital where he was treated, hits upon the idea of printing a calendar featuring some of the members of the Knapely chapter of the Women's Institute discreetly posing nude while engaged in everyday activities, such as baking and knitting, in order to raise funds. Her proposal initially is met with great scepticism, but she eventually convinces ten women to participate in the project with her. They enlist one of the hospital workers, an amateur photographer named Lawrence, to help them with the concept.

The head of the local Women's Institute chapter refuses to sanction the calendar, and Chris and Annie go to a national congress of the Women's Institute in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 to plead their case. They are told the final decision rests with the local leader, who grudgingly agrees to the calendar's sale. The initial printing quickly sells out, and before long the tiny village is bombarded with members of the international media anxious to report the feel-good story.

The women are invited to appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

. While there, tensions arise between Chris and Annie. All the publicity surrounding the calendar has taken a toll on their personal lives, and they lash out at each other in angry frustration. Annie accuses Chris of ignoring her husband and son and the demands of the family business in favour of her newfound celebrity, while Chris believes Annie welcomes the Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa , born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu , was a Roman Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, in 1950...

-like status to which she's been elevated that allows her to cater to the ill and bereaved who have bombarded her with fan mail. All is resolved eventually, and the women return home to resume life as it was before they removed their clothing.

Cast

  • Helen Mirren
    Helen Mirren
    Dame Helen Mirren, DBE is an English actor. She has won an Academy Award for Best Actress, four SAG Awards, four BAFTAs, three Golden Globes, four Emmy Awards, and two Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Awards.-Early life and family:...

     as Chris Harper, the driving force behind the idea of stripping off for the local Women's Institute calendar. Modeled after real-life "calendar girl" Tricia Stewart, Mirren has described Chris as a "dash in"—character who shared similarities with Stewart but was actually not based on her real persona. The actress was initially resistant to joining the project, at first dismissing it as another middling British picture with a "middle-of-the-road, [...] middle-class, middle-aged"—-themed background. Upon learning that Walters and other colleagues had signed on, however, Mirren rethought her original decision and accepted the offer.
  • Julie Walters
    Julie Walters
    Julie Walters, CBE is an English actress and novelist. She came to international prominence in 1983 for Educating Rita, performing in the title role opposite Michael Caine. It was a role she had created on the West End stage and it won her BAFTA and Golden Globe awards for Best Actress...

     as Annie Clarke, Chris's best friend. Her husband John's leukemia
    Leukemia
    Leukemia or leukaemia is a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow characterized by an abnormal increase of immature white blood cells called "blasts". Leukemia is a broad term covering a spectrum of diseases...

     death serves as the basis for her friend's idea to purchase a sofa for hospital visitors in remembrance of him. Based on Angela Baker whose husband died from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1998, Walters was Cole's first choice to play the "more quiet and sensitive" role of Annie. Known for her comedic roles, Walters initially thought Cole had accidentally offered her the wrong part, and although pleased to have been cast against stereotype, she considered the role "a difficult path to trap" while striking a balance between Annie's grief and humorous moments. As a result, she was heavily involved in the modification of several scenes.
  • Linda Bassett
    Linda Bassett
    Linda Bassett is an English actress, who is well known in the United Kingdom for her film career.Bassett was born in Kent, England to a typist mother and a police officer father. Her roles include the award-winning part of Ella Khan in the 1999 British comedy film East is East...

     as Cora, a shop owner and divorced single mother. She is the official organist of the Knapely WI.
  • Annette Crosbie
    Annette Crosbie
    Annette Crosbie, OBE is a Scottish character actor.-Life and career:Crosbie was born in Gorebridge, Midlothian, Scotland, to Presbyterian parents who disapproved of her becoming an actor. Nevertheless, she joined the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School while still in her teens...

     as Jessie, a retired teacher.
  • Celia Imrie
    Celia Imrie
    Celia Diana Savile Imrie is an English actress. In a career starting in the early 1970s, Imrie has played Marianne Bellshade in Bergerac, Philippa Moorcroft in Dinnerladies, Miss Babs in Acorn Antiques, Diana Neal in After You've Gone and Gloria Millington in Kingdom...

     as Celia, a mayor
    Mayor
    In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

    's wife.
  • Penelope Wilton
    Penelope Wilton
    Penelope Alice Wilton, OBE is an English actress.-Life and career:Penelope Alice Wilton was born in Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, to a former actress mother and a businessman father. She is a niece of actors Bill Travers and Linden Travers and a cousin of the actor Richard Morant...

     as Ruth Reynoldson, a carpet dealer's housewife. Wilton initially rejected the offer to join the project as she refused to be filmed semi-naked.
  • Geraldine James
    Geraldine James
    Geraldine James, OBE is an English actress.-Early life and family:James was born in Maidenhead, Berkshire, to a cardiologist father...

     as Marie, chairwoman of the Knapely WI group.
  • Philip Glenister
    Philip Glenister
    Philip Haywood Glenister is an English actor, known for his role as DCI Gene Hunt in British television series Life On Mars and its sequel Ashes To Ashes.-Television and films:...

     as Lawrence Sertain, John Clarke's nurse and photographer of the calendar, based on photographer Terry Logan.
  • Ciarán Hinds
    Ciarán Hinds
    Ciarán Hinds is an Irish film, television and stage actor. He has built up a reputation as a versatile character actor appearing in such high profile films as Road to Perdition, The Phantom of the Opera, Munich, There Will Be Blood and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. His television roles include...

     as Rod Harper, Chris' husband, a florist.
  • John Alderton
    John Alderton
    John Alderton is an English actor who is best known for his roles in Upstairs, Downstairs, Thomas & Sarah and Please Sir!. Alderton has often starred alongside his wife, Pauline Collins.-Early life:...

     as John Clarke, Annie's husband, who dies from leukaemia.
  • George Costigan
    George Costigan
    -Early life:Costigan was born in Portsmouth and grew up in Irlams o' th' Height and Weaste in Salford. He attended St. Augustine's C of E Primary School on Bolton Road in Pendlebury, then Wardley Grammar School on Mardale Avenue in Wardley near Swinton.-Career:...

     as Eddie Reynoldson, Ruth's husband.
  • John-Paul Macleod as Jem Harper, Chris and Rod's only son.


The film's fellow calendar girls include Georgie Glen
Georgie Glen
Georgie Glen is a prolific British actress, best known for her stage and television work. Her most notable role is as Hannah More in the 2006 film Amazing Grace. She plays John Ruskin's mother in the drama Desperate Romantics about the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood...

, Angela Curran, Rosalind March
Rosalind March
Rosalind March is a British actress.March's career as an actress began back in 1979 when she played Madge in several episodes of the series The Dick Francis Thriller: The Racing Game...

, Lesley Staples, and Janet Howd as Kathy, May, Truday, Julia, and Jenny respectively. Calendar Girls also cast Graham Crowden
Graham Crowden
Clement Graham Crowden was a Scottish actor. He was best known for his many appearances in television comedy dramas and films, often playing eccentric 'offbeat' scientist, teacher and doctor characters.-Early life:...

 as Jesse's husband Richard, Belinda Everett as Cora's daughter Maya, Marc Pickering
Marc Pickering
Marc Pickering is an English stage, film and television actor who appeared in Sleepy Hollow and Calendar Girls.-Biography:Pickering was first attracted to acting aged 8 when he saw an audition sign for The Sound of Music and said to his father "I wouldn't mind doing that". Although he did not get...

 as Jem Haper's friend Gaz, and Harriet Thorpe
Harriet Thorpe
-TV:She was in the mid-to-late 1990s British television sitcom The Brittas Empire, playing Carole Parkinson, the receptionist who was prone to depression and fits of emotion who permanently kept her children with her, in drawers under her desk and would sometimes be seen feeding them or washing...

 as WI president Brenda Mooney. Gillian Wright
Gillian Wright
Gillian Wright, is an English actress who is best known for portraying the role of Jean Slater on the long running BBC soap opera EastEnders...

 appears as Eddie Reynoldson's lover, while John Sharian
John Sharian
John Sharian is an American actor whose film credits include The Machinist and Saving Private Ryan and whose television credits include CSI: Miami and Spooks.-Education:...

 plays an American commercial director named Danny. In addition actors and actresses Richard Braine
Richard Braine
Richard Braine is a British television actor.One of his most recognisable roles was that of Augustus "Gussie" Fink-Nottle in the ITV television third and fourth series Jeeves and Wooster based on the P. G. Wodehouse novels...

, Ted Robbins
Ted Robbins
Ted Robbins is an English comedian, actor, broadcaster, radio DJ, radio personality, voice-over artist and television personalityRobbins currently presents a morning show on BBC Radio Lancashire from 9am - 11am on weekdays....

, Arthur Kelly
Arthur Kelly
Arthur Kelly is a British actor who played Monkey Gibbons in Coronation Street and Geoff Wright in Brookside, he has also been in Z-Cars, Juliet Bravo, Play for Today, Bergerac, The Bill, Boon, Between the Lines, Love Hurts, Stay Lucky, Grange Hill, A Touch of Frost, Pie in the Sky, Heartbeat, The...

, Alison Pargeter
Alison Pargeter
Alison Pargeter is an English actress who played the roles of stalker Sarah Cairns in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, also Mary Slessor in a 11-part television series of Mary Slessor, and the Nag's Head barmaid called Val in the BBC Only Fools and Horses prequel Rock & Chips.-Theatre:Pargeter was a...

, Angus Barnett
Angus Barnett
Angus Barnett is an English actor known for his repeated roles in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series and the British ITV series Dead Man Weds...

, John Sparkes
John Sparkes
John Sparkes is a Welsh comedian born in Swansea and is more commonly known on Welsh television as Barry Welsh, in the award-winning series Barry Welsh is Coming....

, Elizabeth Bennett
Elizabeth Bennett (actress)
Elizabeth Bennett is a British actress.Bennett has appeared in several British TV series, including The Sandbaggers, The Bill, The Lakes, Chef!, The Duchess of Duke Street and Heartbeat. She played "Enid Thompson" in the British situation comedy Home to Roost, and played "Enid Tompkins" in the US...

, Christa Ackroyd
Christa Ackroyd
Christa Ackroyd is a British television and radio presenter. She is one of the main presenters for the BBC Yorkshire regional magazine programme Look North.-Early life:...

, Matt Malloy
Matt Malloy
Matt Malloy is an American character actor. He has had numerous roles in both film and TV often portraying the beleaguered everyman. Malloy's only starring role to date was alongside Aaron Eckhart in the critically acclaimed black comedy, In the Company of Men...

, Patton Oswalt
Patton Oswalt
Patton Oswalt is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor and voice actor. He is best known for portraying Spencer Olchin in the popular sitcom The King of Queens, voicing Remy from the film Ratatouille and Thrasher from the Cartoon Network original series Robotomy.-Early life:Oswalt was born...

, and John Fortune
John Fortune
John Fortune is a British satirist, comedian writer and actor, best known for his work with John Bird and Rory Bremner on the TV series Bremner, Bird and Fortune. He was educated at Bristol Cathedral School and King's College, Cambridge, where he was to meet and form a lasting friendship with John...

 appear in short roles.

American television host Jay Leno
Jay Leno
James Douglas Muir "Jay" Leno is an American stand-up comedian and television host.From 1992 to 2009, Leno was the host of NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Beginning in September 2009, Leno started a primetime talk show, titled The Jay Leno Show, which aired weeknights at 10:00 p.m. ,...

 appears as himself in the film during the ladies' visit to California; they also encounter the American heavy metal
Heavy metal music
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and the United States...

 band Anthrax
Anthrax (band)
Anthrax is an American heavy metal band from New York City, formed in 1981. Founded by guitarists Scott Ian and Danny Lilker, the band has since released ten studio albums and 20 singles, and an EP featuring Public Enemy. The band was one of the most popular of the 1980s thrash metal scene...

 while relaxing by the pool. Anne Reid was offered a major role in Calendar Girls, but choose to do Roger Michell
Roger Michell
Roger Michell is an English theatre, television and film director.-Personal life:He was born in Pretoria, South Africa but spent significant parts of his childhood in Beirut, Damascus and Prague as his father was a diplomat. He was educated at Clifton College where he became a member of Brown's...

's The Mother (2003) instead.

Production


Six of the eleven women who were pictured in the original calendar sold the rights to their stories. They were Angela Baker, Tricia Stewart, Beryl Bamforth, Lynda Logan, Christine Clancy, and Ros Fawcett. In addition to the calendars, they also posed for a postcard known as "Baker's Half Dozen."

Whereas the actual Calendar Girls were members of the Rylstone
Rylstone
Rylstone is a village and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. It is situated very near to Cracoe and about 6 miles south west of Grassington....

 Women's Institute, much of the film was shot in and around the village of Kettlewell
Kettlewell
Kettlewell is a village in Upper Wharfedale, North Yorkshire, England. It lies between the villages of Grassington, Kilnsey and Conistone to the south, Starbotton to the north west, the hamlet of Horsehouse to the north east, and later on Coverdale...

 in North Yorkshire
North Yorkshire
North Yorkshire is a non-metropolitan or shire county located in the Yorkshire and the Humber region of England, and a ceremonial county primarily in that region but partly in North East England. Created in 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972 it covers an area of , making it the largest...

, some ten miles away. Additional locations include Buckden
Buckden, North Yorkshire
Buckden is a village and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England.Buckden is situated in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, on the River Wharfe in Wharfedale. According to the 2001 census it had a population of 184. It is situated where Buckden Gill, which rises on Buckden...

, Burnsall
Burnsall
Burnsall is a village and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. It is situated on the River Wharfe in Wharfedale, with a five-arched bridge over which the Dalesway passes, and is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is southeast of Hebden, along a river path dated...

, Coniston
Coniston
-Relating to Coniston, Cumbria, England:*Coniston, Cumbria, a village*Coniston Fells, a chain of hills and mountains in the Furness Fells, in the Lake District**Coniston Old Man , the highest peak in the Coniston Fells....

, Ilkley
Ilkley
Ilkley is a spa town and civil parish in West Yorkshire, in the north of England. Ilkley civil parish includes the adjacent village of Ben Rhydding and is a ward within the metropolitan borough of Bradford. Approximately north of Bradford, the town lies mainly on the south bank of the River Wharfe...

, Settle
Settle
Settle is a small market town and civil parish within the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. It is served by the Settle railway station, which is located near the town centre, and Giggleswick railway station which is a mile away. It is from Leeds Bradford Airport...

, Linton
Linton, North Yorkshire
Linton is a village and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. It is to the immediate south, and across the River Wharfe, from Grassington, near Threshfield and eight miles north of the market town Skipton. The green of this small, picturesque village is set among a fine...

, Malham
Malham
Malham is a village and civil parish in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. Situated in the Yorkshire Dales with a population of approximately 150. The surrounding countryside is well known for its limestone pavements and other examples of limestone scenery...

, Skipton
Skipton
Skipton is a market town and civil parish within the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. It is located along the course of both the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the River Aire, on the south side of the Yorkshire Dales, northwest of Bradford and west of York...

, Westminster
Westminster
Westminster is an area of central London, within the City of Westminster, England. It lies on the north bank of the River Thames, southwest of the City of London and southwest of Charing Cross...

 and Ealing
Ealing
Ealing is a suburban area of west London, England and the administrative centre of the London Borough of Ealing. It is located west of Charing Cross and around from the City of London. It is one of the major metropolitan centres identified in the London Plan. It was historically a rural village...

 in London, and the beach in Santa Monica
Santa Mônica
Santa Mônica is a town and municipality in the state of Paraná in the Southern Region of Brazil.-References:...

. The penultimate shot of Chris and Annie walking down a street was filmed in Turville
Turville
Turville is a village and civil parish within Wycombe district in Buckinghamshire, England. It is located in the Chiltern Hills, about five miles west of High Wycombe and five miles north of Henley-on-Thames....

. Interiors were filmed in the Shepperton Studios
Shepperton Studios
Shepperton Studios is a film studio in Shepperton, Surrey, England with a history dating back to 1931 since when many notable films have been made there...

.

The pictures in the film-version calendar were taken by professional stills photographer Jaap Buitendijk.

The film's soundtrack
Soundtrack
A soundtrack can be recorded music accompanying and synchronized to the images of a motion picture, book, television program or video game; a commercially released soundtrack album of music as featured in the soundtrack of a film or TV show; or the physical area of a film that contains the...

 includes "You Upset Me Baby" performed by B.B. King, "Sloop John B" by The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys are an American rock band, formed in 1961 in Hawthorne, California. The group was initially composed of brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine. Managed by the Wilsons' father Murry, The Beach Boys signed to Capitol Records in 1962...

, "The Way You Do the Things You Do" by The Temptations
The Temptations
The Temptations is an American vocal group having achieved fame as one of the most successful acts to record for Motown Records. The group's repertoire has included, at various times during its five-decade career, R&B, doo-wop, funk, disco, soul, and adult contemporary music.Formed in Detroit,...

, and "Comin' Home Baby" by Roland Kirk
Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Rahsaan Roland Kirk was an American jazz multi-instrumentalist who played tenor saxophone, flute and many other instruments...

 and Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones
Quincy Delightt Jones, Jr. is an American record producer and musician. A conductor, musical arranger, film composer, television producer, and trumpeter. His career spans five decades in the entertainment industry and a record 79 Grammy Award nominations, 27 Grammys, including a Grammy Legend...

.

The film premiered at the Locarno Film Festival. It was later shown at Filmfest Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

, the Dinard Festival of British Cinema in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, the Warsaw Film Festival, the Tokyo International Film Festival
Tokyo International Film Festival
Tokyo International Film Festival is a film festival established in 1985. The event was held biannually from 1985 to 1991 and annually thereafter...

, and the UK Film Festival in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

.

Inspiration


The fundraising phenomenon of the Calendar Girls was inspired by the death of Angela Baker's husband John Richard Baker, an Assistant National Park Officer for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, who died from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at the age of 54 in 1998. During his illness Angela's friends began to raise money, initially with the aim of purchasing a sofa for the visitors lounge in the hospital where John was treated. Nothing could have prepared them for the way their original calendar took off. To date they have raised over £2 million for Leukaemia Research, the UK's leading blood cancer charity.

The photos for the 2000 Alternative WI Calendar, as it was named, were taken by Terry Logan, a former professional photographer who was married to one of the models. It was released on April 12, 1999 and became a runaway success, selling out in the first week. 10,000 additional copies were printed, all of which were sold within three weeks. Nine months after its launch, the calendar had sold 88,000 copies. It then was adapted for an American version covering June 2000 - December 2001. The ladies were invited to appear with Jay Leno
Jay Leno
James Douglas Muir "Jay" Leno is an American stand-up comedian and television host.From 1992 to 2009, Leno was the host of NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Beginning in September 2009, Leno started a primetime talk show, titled The Jay Leno Show, which aired weeknights at 10:00 p.m. ,...

 and Rosie O' Donnell on their respective talk shows. That year the calendar sold 202,000 copies.

Proceeds from the 2000 calendar were used to fund lymphoma and leukaemia research in new laboratories at the University of Leeds
University of Leeds
The University of Leeds is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England...

. A plaque dedicated to John Baker reads, "The work in this laboratory is dedicated to the memory of John Baker in recognition of the exceptional fundraising achievements of 'The Calendar Girls' of the Rylstone & District Women's Institute."

Since 2000, the Calendar Girls have produced calendars for 2004, 2005, 2007 and a recipe calendar for 2008 with their favourite Yorkshire recipes on the back of each month.

Ten years on, the Calendar Girls launched a 2010 Calendar with a new set of full colour images and the aim of raising £2 million for Leukaemia Research
Leukaemia Research
Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is a British charitable organisation, established in 1960by the Eastwood family from Middlesbrough who started raising money, following the death of their 6-year-old daughter Susan....

.

The Calendar Girls are still strong supporters of Leukaemia Research and have a range of merchandise in aid of the charity including calendars, greetings cards a range of three jams made by Brackenhill Fine Foods York, and chocolates produced by Yorkshire chocolatier Whitaker's, twelve squares with the original calendar images on the wrappers. They are available online and in selected outlets.

Of the project, Angela Baker has said, "We are constantly amazed at the response we had, and still get, to our Calendar. I cannot believe that we were able to raise so much money and I am delighted that it is being spent on such worthwhile research. I know that John would be tremendously honoured to know that we have achieved so much in his name."

Differences from actual events

  • As is usual for fictionalized accounts, the names of most of the real-life characters were changed. The film concludes with a dedication to the late John Baker, the real name of the John Clark character.
  • In a comedic sequence, the ladies in the film interview a series of potential photographers. The semi-professional photographer of the original WI calendar was in fact Terry Logan, the husband of Miss January, Lynda Logan.
  • Despite the film's central DIY theme, the original calendar enjoyed sponsorship from British Parliamentarian Glenda Jackson
    Glenda Jackson
    Glenda May Jackson, CBE is a British Labour Party politician and former actress. She has been a Member of Parliament since 1992, and currently represents Hampstead and Kilburn. She previously served as MP for Hampstead and Highgate...

    , the only MP to have won an Academy Award. Also, the film suggests that local and national WI chapters were opposed to the calendar, but there was actually emphatic support for the project from those bodies.
  • In a BBC interview, Tricia Stewart said she and Angela Baker never experienced the tension exhibited by the characters based on them, Chris (played by Mirren) and Annie (Waters). She said that the "calendar did expose certain jealousies and insecurities among the women."

Reception


In his review in the New York Times, Elvis Mitchell called "minty-cool" Helen Mirren and "deft" Julie Walters "a graceful pair of troupers" and "a sunny, amusing team" and described the film as "yet another professionally acted and staged wry-crisp comedy about British modesty ... that gets its laughs, but seems increasingly out of date ... When the biggest compliment you can pay a picture is that it is professional and not smug, there's a little something missing, like invention."

Roger Ebert
Roger Ebert
Roger Joseph Ebert is an American film critic and screenwriter. He is the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.Ebert is known for his film review column and for the television programs Sneak Previews, At the Movies with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and Siskel and Ebert and The...

 of the Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
The Chicago Sun-Times is an American daily newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois. It is the flagship paper of the Sun-Times Media Group.-History:The Chicago Sun-Times is the oldest continuously published daily newspaper in the city...

said, "It's the kind of sweet, good-humored comedy that used to star Margaret Rutherford
Margaret Rutherford
Dame Margaret Taylor Rutherford DBE was an English character actress, who first came to prominence following World War II in the film adaptations of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, and Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest...

, although Helen Mirren and Julie Walters, its daring top-liners, would have curled Dame Margaret's eyebrows ... That the movie works, and it does, is mostly because of the charm of Mirren and Walters, who show their characters having so much fun that it becomes infectious."

In the San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
thumb|right|upright|The Chronicle Building following the [[1906 San Francisco earthquake|1906 earthquake]] and fireThe San Francisco Chronicle is a newspaper serving primarily the San Francisco Bay Area of the U.S. state of California, but distributed throughout Northern and Central California,...

, Ruthe Stein said it is "A charming movie ... [that] should appeal to fans of The Full Monty
The Full Monty
The Full Monty is a 1997 British comedy film directed by Peter Cattaneo, starring Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy, William Snape, Steve Huison, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Barber, and Hugo Speer. The screenplay was written by Simon Beaufoy...

and Waking Ned Devine
Waking Ned
Waking Ned is a 1998 comedy film by English writer and director Kirk Jones. It stars Ian Bannen, David Kelly and Fionnula Flanagan. Kelly was nominated for a Screen Actors' Guild award for his role as Michael O'Sullivan. The film is set in Ireland but was filmed on location in the Isle of Man...

— and not just because they also featured nudity that made you smile instead of smirk. The films share a wonderfully British wry humor. They're not laugh-out-loud funny, but there's quite a bit to amuse you when thinking about the scenes later."

Manohla Dargis of the Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

said the film "is closer in texture and consistency to individually wrapped American cheese
American cheese
American cheese is a processed cheese. It is orange, yellow, or white in color and mild in flavor, with a medium-firm consistency, and melts easily. American cheese was originally only white, but is usually now modified to yellow. In the past it was made from a blend of cheeses, most often Colby...

 than good, tangy English Cheddar
Cheddar cheese
Cheddar cheese is a relatively hard, yellow to off-white, and sometimes sharp-tasting cheese, produced in several countries around the world. It has its origins in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset....

. But even humble plastic-wrapped cheese has its virtues and so does this film, which for its first hour hums along principally by virtue of many, many shots of the verdant Yorkshire Dales
Yorkshire Dales
The Yorkshire Dales is the name given to an upland area in Northern England.The area lies within the historic county boundaries of Yorkshire, though it spans the ceremonial counties of North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Cumbria...

 and the professional good graces of its cast. Chief among those graces are Helen Mirren and Julie Walters, two well-matched and criminally underused actresses who ... tend to make you regret the movie that could have been, even as they felicitously help pass the time ... Although they have little to do but grin and bare it, Mirren and Walters are delightful company."

In Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly is an American magazine, published by the Time division of Time Warner, that covers film, television, music, broadway theatre, books and popular culture...

, Lisa Schwarzbaum graded the film B+ and commented, "[It] is the first export from the light-comedy-steamroller division of the British film industry that avoids, for the most part, the kind of queasy class condescension such hell-bent charmers have relied on since unemployed steel-mill workers shook their groove thangs in The Full Monty. Once again, British people do things that British people are not expected to do; the ladies are related to the coal miner's son who pirouetted in Billy Elliot
Billy Elliot
Billy Elliot is a 2000 British drama film written by Lee Hall and directed by Stephen Daldry. Set in the fictional town of "Everington" in the real County Durham, UK, it stars Jamie Bell as 11-year-old Billy, an aspiring dancer, Gary Lewis as his coal miner father, Jamie Draven as Billy's older...

and the tweedy widow who harvested dynamite weed in Saving Grace
Saving Grace (2000 film)
Track Listing# "Introduction" – 1:02# "Grace's Theme" – 2:42# "Take a Picture" – 5:55# "Make Me Smile " – 4:07# "Spirit in the Sky" – 3:56...

."

Variety
Variety (magazine)
Variety is an American weekly entertainment-trade magazine founded in New York City, New York, in 1905 by Sime Silverman. With the rise of the importance of the motion-picture industry, Daily Variety, a daily edition based in Los Angeles, California, was founded by Silverman in 1933. In 1998, the...

critic Derek Elley said the film "delivers very likable, if sometimes dramatically wobbly, results ... Though the film is never dull, and playing by the cast is spirited, it's actually a surprisingly gentle movie, with no big Full Monty-like finale to send auds buzzing into the street. The humor has a typically British, offhanded flavor, and the essentially simple story plays more as a multi-character rondo on a single idea. For every laugh-out-loud moment, or eccentric touch, there are equal moments of reflection and pause ... Despite an uncertain start in establishing a consistent comic tone, pic builds into an engaging, light character comedy, played somewhere between the Ealing
Ealing Studios
Ealing Studios is a television and film production company and facilities provider at Ealing Green in West London. Will Barker bought the White Lodge on Ealing Green in 1902 as a base for film making, and films have been made on the site ever since...

 tradition and contempo regional comedy. The challenge from the halfway point is to turn these mild English stereotype
Stereotype
A stereotype is a popular belief about specific social groups or types of individuals. The concepts of "stereotype" and "prejudice" are often confused with many other different meanings...

s into more substantial characters an audience will empathize with; it's a challenge only half met by scripters Towhidi and Firth."

In The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

, Peter Bradshaw rated the film three out of a possible five stars and added, "This genial comedy, directed by Nigel Cole, with an excellent, tightly constructed script by Tim Firth and Juliette Towhidi, accentuates the positive. There's lots of wit and pluck and not much heartbreak," and Mark Kermode of The Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

said, "When the film succeeds, as it does magnificently in the first two-thirds, one can only marvel at the miracle of a world in which such plotlines could literally land on a producer's doorstep with the morning papers. When it fails, it is the film's acknowledgment of its own big-screen inevitability that is to blame. The result is half a great British screen comedy, twice as much as one usually expects from the genre nowadays ... Ultimately, however, this remains an immensely likeable and often impressive romp."

Awards and nominations

  • Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
    Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
    The Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as a separate category in 1950...

     (Helen Mirren, nominee)
  • Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
    Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
    The Satellite Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy is one the Satellite Awards, given annually by the International Press Academy.- 1990s :- 2000s :- 2010–2019 :...

     (Mirren, nominee)
  • Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Julie Walters, nominee)
  • British Independent Film Award
    British Independent Film Awards
    The Moët British Independent Film Awards is an annual award ceremony celebrating achievement in independently funded British film and cinema. Nominations and jury are announced at the beginning of November with the award ceremony taking place in late November or early December.-History:The British...

     for Best Screenplay (nominee)
  • British Comedy Award
    British Comedy Awards
    The British Comedy Awards is an annual awards ceremony in the United Kingdom celebrating notable comedians and entertainment performances of the previous year.-History:...

     for Best Comedy Film (winner)
  • Sony Ericsson Empire Award for Best British Film (nominee)
  • Sony Ericsson Empire Award for Best British Actress (Mirren and Walters, nominees)
  • European Film Award for Best Actress (Mirren, nominee)
  • Bordeaux International Festival of Women in Cinema Golden Wave Award for Best Screenplay (winner)

Stage adaptation



A stage play based on the film opened in 2008 as part of the Chichester theatre festival. It subsequently transferred to the West End
West End theatre
West End theatre is a popular term for mainstream professional theatre staged in the large theatres of London's 'Theatreland', the West End. Along with New York's Broadway theatre, West End theatre is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English speaking...

.

External links