Calendar Girls

September 12th, 2003


Calendar Girls

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Still of Helen Mirren and Julie Walters in Calendar GirlsThe women of Knapely (left to right, front row: Lesley Staples, Angela Curran, Julie Walters, Rosalind March, Penelope Wilton, Annette Crosbie. left to right, back row: Janet Howd, Celia Imrie, Georgie Glen, Linda Bassett) prepare to bare all for their photographer, Lawrence (Philip Glenister, right).Legendary actresses Helen Mirren (center left) and Julie Walters (center right) pose with the inspirations for their characters: two of the original The members of the U.K.'s Women's Institute - Cora (Linda Bassett, left), Annie Clark (Julie Walters, second from left), Celia (Celia Imrie, third from left), Jessie (Annette Crosby, third from right), Chris Harper (Helen Mirren, second from right), and Ruth (Penelope Wilton, right), raise eyebrows - among other things - when they pose nude in their annual fundraising calendarJulie Walters (right) poses with Angela Baker (left). Two of the original

A Women's Institute chapter's fundraising effort for a local hospital by posing nude for a calendar becomes a media sensation.

Release Year: 2003

Rating: 6.9/10 (11,396 voted)

Critic's Score: 60/100

Director: Nigel Cole

Stars: Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, Penelope Wilton

Middle aged Chris Harper and Annie Clarke are best friends. They spend much of their time at their local Knapely, Yorkshire County chapter of the Women's Institute (WI), whose motto is "enlightenment, fun and friendship". Although they like most of the women at the WI (the friendship part), they, but the perceived flaky Chris in particular, hold the way Marie, the local president, runs the chapter with derision. They find much of what goes on there, especially the monthly presentations, banal and devoid of enlightenment and fun. Equally as banal was last year's fund-raising calendar, featuring local bridges, which raised a meager £75.60, with this year's proposed calendar, local churches, promising to be even more so. After Annie's husband John passes away from leukemia, Chris wants the WI to provide a memorial in his memory: a new sofa for the family room at the hospital...

Writers: Juliette Towhidi, Tim Firth

Helen Mirren - Chris
Julie Walters - Annie
John Alderton - John
Linda Bassett - Cora
Annette Crosbie - Jessie
Philip Glenister - Lawrence
Ciarán Hinds - Rod (as Ciaran Hinds)
Celia Imrie - Celia
Geraldine James - Marie
Penelope Wilton - Ruth
George Costigan - Eddie
Graham Crowden - Richard
John Fortune - Frank
Georgie Glen - Kathy
Angela Curran - May

Taglines: Drop everything this holiday season.


Official Website: Official Site |

Release Date: 12 September 2003

Filming Locations: Buckden, North Yorkshire, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: $10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: €401,411 (Italy) (28 September 2003) (169 Screens)

Gross: $96,542,059 (Worldwide) (2004)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Contrary to the depiction in the film, the proposal for the calendar enjoyed broad support in the Women's Institute organisation.

Continuity: When leaving the hotel for the first time before they get into the limo to go to sign autographs, one of the women takes a camera from the photographer and then, between shots, the camera changes from right hand to left and the right again.

Annie: Anybody fancy some chips?

User Review

Go see it!

Rating: 10/10

I've been getting a little tired of the computer-enhanced extravaganzas that have been flung at viewers over the past few years. You know what I'm talking about--the movies that are short on plot, acting or both which are bolstered up by loud FX and revolutionary digital animation so that it becomes "special effects in search of a picture". I'm delighted to say that CALENDAR GIRLS has nothing of the kind. It's all about the plot, all about the women involved, and all about laughing so hard you cry--or maybe about being able to forget tears in deep laughter, if only for a moment.

The acting is superb. One hardly needs to mention Helen Mirren. I read one comment that pans her Yorkshire accent; well, I attended it with an Englishwoman who is very familiar with such an accent and she specifically told me that her accent never slipped, so I've no idea where that comment came from.

Having been involved with the world of cancer treatment recently (fortunately with a happier outcome for my mother, a survivor of breast cancer) this movie strikes close to home. It's completely accurate; it's not pretty and it's often degrading, no matter how much the oncological staff tries to make it easier. The movie is also accurate in the kind of sentiments it expresses about cancer. People who have been touched by that filthy disease will do ANYTHING to fight it. (I sat on a spin bike for twenty-four consecutive hours in aid of breast cancer less than two weeks ago, so I do know what I'm talking about.) Yes, a few liberties with the real story have been taken. So what? The result is a coherent progression that is more interested in human beings than plot details. And isn't that what it should be about?

I've heard this dismissed as a movie for "older people". I'm proud to be of that number--after all, at the age of thirty-five I'm ten years out of the target demographic at which Hollywood films are aimed. If by "older people" they mean people who want a movie to be about something important as opposed to the latest spectacular light show, I'm glad to be of that number. I'd recommend this to anyone who's interested in a movie that is both hysterically funny and deeply touching. It has re-inspired me in the battle against cancer, and if it does that to anyone else, it will have made a worthwhile difference.


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