Calendar Girls
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Character: Chris Harper
Directed by: Nigel Cole
Written by: Juliette Towhidi, Tim Firth
Produced by: Nick Barton
Other cast: Julie Walters, John Alderton, Linda Bassett, Annette Crosbie
Release date: September 2, 2003
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Running time: 1h 48min

After the death of her best friend's husband from cancer, spirited Yorkshire housewife Chris Harper hatches a scheme to raise money for a memorial to him. Utilizing a tradition from the hidebound Woman's Institute association, Chris encourages Annie and their friends to create a calendar -- with the novel detail of using the middle-aged women of their village as nude models. The idea stuns the husbands and a wary young photographer.

Taglines

→ They dropped everything for a good cause.
→ Drop everything this holiday season.
→ Some ladies will do anything for a good cause.
→ A Full Monty-female style!

Trivia

» During the making of the film, Helen Mirren’s brother was dying of cancer. She was given the news he had died on the day they came to film the funeral scenes. Her tears and grief are real.

Goofs

♦ When Chris gets her pictures back from being developed, the shot of her topless behind the fruit bowl does not match her position when the picture was taken.
♦ When Chris runs out of the door to the Hollywood film studio following Annie, she is barefoot. When the shot changes and they emerge into the alleyway behind the studio they are both wearing slippers.
♦ When Chris and the girls get off the bus, in front of the church back home after their trip to Hollywood, Chris is wearing stiletto type heels. She stays behind and walks down the street with her husband, but she is now wearing thicker heeled boots. She returns to the WI meeting, and when she is leaving the meeting with Annie, she is back in stiletto heels.
♦ When Chris and Annie are running to the National Conference, the phone call to Chris’ husband says ‘we will be back for the press conference tonight’. The time on the clock on the Palace of Westminster says about 6:30, and the sunshine is evening sunshine. When they get into the conference, they are on for ‘the last open spot of the morning’.
♦ At press conference, as Chris is making her way to the front, journalists are holding cassette recorders out, as if seeking comment. However, they are playing their recorders, not recording, since the play buttons are pushed, but the red record buttons are not.

Character’s Quotes

• A while ago I asked John Clarke to give us a talk here at Knapely WI. Annie asked me to read it to you here tonight, and this is what he wrote: “The flowers of Yorkshire are like the women of Yorkshire. Every stage of their growth has its own beauty, but the last phase is always the most glorious. Then very quickly they all go to seed. Which makes it ironic my favourite flower isn’t even indigenous to the British Isles, let alone Yorkshire. I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life that the sunflower. For me that’s because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.”

• I only joined the WI to make my mother happy. I do, I hate plum jam. I’m crap at cakes, I can’t make sponge. In fact, seeing as it’s unlikely that George Clooney would actually come to Skipton to do a talk on what it was like to be in “ER”, there seems very little reason for me to actually stay in the WI. Except suddenly… suddenly I want to raise money in memory of a man I loved, and to do that I’m prepared to take me clothes off for a WI calendar, and if you can’t give us ten minutes of your time, Madam Chairman, well then, frankly, guys, I’m going to do it without council approval. Because there are some things that are more important than council approval. And if it means that we get closer to killing off this shitty, cheating, sly, conniving bloody disease that cancer is, oh God, I tell you, I’d run round Skipton market naked, smeared in plum jam, wearing nothing but a knitted tea cosy on me head and singing “Jerusalem”.

• No, because I’m going to make sure this one turns out ok Marie, because it’s for John. It’s inspired by John and it’s for John and it’s because of John and no matter what you might think of the idea Marie, you’re looking at January.

In Helen’s words…

♥ (on how she learned about the Calendar Girls) “I first heard about it in America,” Mirren says. “I remember there was a big article in the New York Times and it made me very proud of my country.”

♥ (on helping her co-stars going through the nude scenes) “They had never done a nude scene before,” Mirren explains. “I was the old hand, so I was giving them advice. And I was a cheerleader — a lot like my character is. But, you know, they’re professional actresses, and I think they were quite thrilled with the idea.”

[from “Helen Mirren’s ‘Calendar Girls'” – CBS News]