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Still shot from the movie: Calendar Girls.

Calendar Girls

Would you drop everything to help a good cause? Well, Annie Clarke (Julie Walters) and Chris Harper (Helen Mirren) are willing. After Annie's husband dies of cancer, the two women, and ten of their friends, shed their clothes and pose for pictures that will be published in a calendar and sold to raise money for research. Get the movie review and more. »


Overall: C+
Violence: A
Sexual Content: D+
Language: C
Drugs/Alcohol: D+
Run Time: 108
Theater Release: 18 Dec 2003
Video Release: 03 May 2004
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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Why Is Calendar Girls Rated PG-13?

Certainly titillating publications are not a unique idea, however contrasting the conservative WI pursuits of cooking and knitting with some liberal-minded nudity, does prove to be a stroke of genius. Their calendar not only becomes a best seller, but also attracts masses of media who descend on their tiny village. Overnight the humble housewives turn into celebrities, giving interviews and even accepting an invitation to Hollywood.

But their success doesn’t come without a price. Ms. January’s son is so embarrassed by her grandstanding that he turns to drugs (although he’s apparently comfortable looking at the pictures of naked young women in the pornographic magazine he hides under his bed). The husband of another of the middle-aged models uses her participation to justify his infidelity. And the sweet taste of fame threatens to sour some long-term relationships.

This film is brilliantly executed with strong acting and a witty charm that conveys both comedy and sensitivity. It also sports abundant mild profanities, some crude anatomical terms, a few brief flashes of nudity and a cheeky attitude as the characters shrug off sexual prudishness. While it champions the empowerment of these fifty-plus-aged ladies to steal the title of sex symbol from the reigning stereotype of the big-busted twenty-year-old, it still concludes with the old clich0xE9: sex sells.

The idea women can only gain attention and recognition by taking off their clothes is further underscored in a comment made during their interview with Jay Leno, when he quips, ?I support anything that will encourage more women to get naked.?

Because it is based on a true story, the premise of the movie Calendar Girls isn’t open to debate. To date, the Alternative WI Calendar has made a half million pounds, and they have also promised the profits from this project to the Leukemia Research Fund. But how you feel about this film, and whether or not the ends justify the means will depend largely on how you answer the question: What is the difference between pornography and art?

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About the Reviewer: Donna Gustafson

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