Director Nigel Cole (Saving Grace) juggles the tone beautifully in Calendar Girls. His film tells the true story of a group of middle-aged Yorkshire women who pose nude for a charity calendar.Calendar Girls touches on serious matters, like grief and commercial exploitation, but is never heavy. Conversely, it’s light and warmly funny without being unbearably frothy or frivolous. The story provides ample opportunity for emotional excess but writers Tim Firth and Juliette Towhidi wisely keep a tight rein on the sentiment.
Helen Mirren and Julie Walters ground proceedings with dedicated and beautifully rendered performances. They’re perfectly believable as best friends and receive fine support from the other women in the ensemble. Ashley Rowe’s photography bathes the Yorkshire village of Knapely in an inviting glow, contrasted with the harsher bright lights of Hollywood where the women’s story ends up.Calendar Girls is a genuine feel-good charmer and deserves to reach a wide audience.