Shirley Valentine

"Good"

Shirley Valentine Review


As a one-woman play, Shirley Valentine wowed them on both sides of the Atlantic, with star Pauline Collins picking up awards and accolades. The film version strives for the same kind of theater-style intimacy, with Collins breaking the fourth wall to chat with the audience just as she did on stage. It doesn't always work, but few other chick flicks have the ability to make middle-aged women laugh and cry as much as this one does.

Pity poor Shirley Valentine-Bradshaw, a blowsy mid-40ish Liverpudlian housewife whose indifferent husband Joe (Bernard Hill) and sullen daughter treat her like hired help. So lonely is Shirley that she frequently talks to her kitchen walls in order to keep some kind of conversation going.

When her friend Jane (Alison Steadman) wins a trip for two to Greece, Shirley makes what for her is a gigantic decision to tag along despite the complaints of everyone around her. After prepping plenty of food for her shocked husband, she's off to seek out some well-deserved fun in the sun. Upon their arrival in Mykonos, Jane has no trouble embarking on sexy flings, but Shirley feels stifled and embarrassed by all the other ugly British tourists who colonize her hotel and act like imperious boors. She's having trouble relaxing.

The warm sunlight eventually starts to work its magic, and Shirley encounters Costas (Tom Conti), a local restaurant owner with a thick black moustache who offers enough sexual magnetism to get Shirley thinking. She's no dope, as she frequently turns and tells the camera. She's just trying to reconnect with herself, to remember the young woman she used to be (we even get a few glimpses of a wisecracking young Shirley to show us how morose she's become over the years).

Costas and Shirley strike up a casual affair, and even after it falls apart, Shirley is content to work as a waitress in his seaside restaurant and contemplate a future that includes neither Joe nor Liverpool.

Shirley's melancholy is leavened by her biting wit, and she often blurts out barbed analogies that must have gone over big on stage but seem sort of clunky on screen. "I think sex is like supermarkets, you know, overrated," she says. "Just a lot of pushing and shoving and you still come out with very little at the end." Rim shot! "I think that marriage is like the Middle East -- there's no solution." Tell it, sister! Collins is totally winning in the role, but Conti, on the other hand, is a comic cliché, acting out every dumb macho Greek stereotype and coming across as far less authentic than Collins. No matter how desperate and disconnected Shirley feels, it's hard to believe she'd let this Zorba wannabe get inside her head.

So think of Shirley Valentine as "Educating Rita under the Tuscan Sun." Women will enjoy it more than men, and older women will enjoy it more than younger women, but don't worry, Shirley has enough comic singers for everyone.

My parents went to Greece and all I got was this lousy burro.



Shirley Valentine

Facts and Figures

Run time: 108 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 30th August 1989

Distributed by: Paramount Home Video

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Shirley Valentine-Bradshaw, as Costas, as Gillian, as Jane, as Marjorie, as Headmistress, as Joe Bradshaw

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Advertisement
Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.