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Shirley Valentine (1989)

shirleyvaemtineShirley Valentine is a bored middle-aged Liverpool housewife, mother of two grown, selfish kids and an indentured servant to a dull drone of a husband.

Plump and depressed, Shirley’s days consist of grocery shopping, housecleaning and frying her husband’s dinner.

Sipping wine and talking to her kitchen wall, she tosses off witty one-liners about marriage, men, and sex with juicy wisdom, her potato peeler being a living tool of

Then something unexpected happens to jolt her out of her lethargy. Shirley tags along with a girlfriend to Greece and two weeks turn into a liberation that changes her life forever.

On Broadway, the magnificent Pauline Collins won the coveted Tony Award and her impeccable, funny, off-the-wall performance in the movie earned her an Oscar nomination.

Director Lewis Gilbert has turned a one-woman stage vehicle into an enchanting movie full of romantic settings and rich, rewarding characters. But it is still the magical Ms. Collins who gives Shirley Valentine its ripe, earthy emotional centre.

She’s fierce, proud, hilarious, and heartbreakingly real. The real message here is that we are not what others perceive in us, but we are what we make of ourselves, so we bloody well better get it right.

Pauline Collins
Tom Conti

Lewis Gilbert