Shirley Valentine - Pauline Collins

Pauline Collins is fantastic in the title role, playing a beaten down housewife who used to be joyful and spontaneous and sparky, full of life and plans – wondering now how she came to be a lonely middle-aged woman going nowhere, talking to the wall as she makes her husband’s dinner. When her friend wins a holiday competition and they both take off for a fortnight in Greece (unimaginably exotic then if not now), she finds herself rediscovering the Shirley Valentine she used to be.

I do like this film. What I like best is the ending, a happy question mark, full of possibilities – because you know that whatever happens next, it will be better than what came before.

It isn’t only Collins who is excellent. Joanna Lumley is bang-on as a grown-up version of Shirley’s childhood rival from school. Alison Steadman is perfect as the strawfeminist friend (and even the inclusion of a strawfeminist doesn’t detract from this film, I promise). Tom Conti is hilarious as the Greek hunk. The cast is all round wonderful, in fact.

Did I mention that I like this film?

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