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1 review, 8 user ratings

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Shirley Valentine
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by Cochise

"Anyone who is married can relate to this movie."
4 stars

If you're thinking about getting married, see this movie. (And future husbands, take note.)

This is a film that deals with marriage, and the problems that many couples have to face, especially wives.

This is a film that deals with marriage, and the problems that many couples have to face, especially wives.

WARNING - In order to review this film and discuss its meaning, I have to reveal the ending. So . . . if you don't want to know what happens in the end, please don't read this until after you have seen the film.

Shirley Valentine is a bored housewife. She finds her husband Joe is insensitive to her needs and thus she is very unhappy. Then she has a chance to escape the drudgery of her life when her best friend wins a trip to Greece. At first Shirley does not want to go, but then decides she needs to get away. Her husband doesn’t even know she went until he finds a note one day when he comes home from work. In Greece Shirley has a romance with a Greek waiter named Costas.

This movie is very realistic.

When Shirley becomes her “new” self, she does not lose all kinds of weight and turn into a beauty queen. She does not do a transformation like Sandra Bullock did in “Miss Congeniality”. Shirley is a normal middle-aged person, a little overweight, and with saggy boobs. She looks better because she feels better about herself, and gets confidence. That is, she thinks she is worth something and thus worthy of doing her hair, getting better clothes, etc.

The romance Shirley had with Costas was not a romance between two beautiful people, but a romance between two ordinary people who find each other attractive. The great majority of people in the world are not models, and this makes it easy to identify with Shirley and Costas as they are like the majority of us.

Costas was attracted to Shirley in spite of her saggy boobs, stretch marks and age. I thought it was a particularly nice touch when he made her stretch marks a lovely thing, and not an off-putting thing.

Hollywood would have had some beautiful actress made up to look overweight (lots of padding, etc.), then had some handsome leading man would sweep her off her fight. Then, suddenly, all the make up and padding would disappear, and by magic we would have the actress transformed into a beauty queen. This would not be real.

The scene where Shirley stays in Greece is realistic because she doesn’t romantically go back to Costas, but stays because she wants the freedom of her new life away from her husband. We don’t have the typical Hollywood story where Shirley leaves her husband and goes off with the “romantic other man.”

The two main characters, Shirley and her husband Joe, are more than just stereotypes, but come across as real people.

Shirley was once spontaneous and full of fun. However, she is worn down by the daily grind of living. This is especially obvious in the way she talks to the wall. (Or the audience.) This talking to the audience usually bothers me because it breaks the illusion of the fourth wall. However, it was so well done in this movie that it did not worry me at all.

Joe, the husband, was once a romantic person just like Shirley. Joe was worn down by work and forget to appreciate his wife. Joe is responsible for wearing Shirley out and sucking the life out of her. When Shirley leaves Joe, he learns to appreciate her. After all, he does go to Greece to find her and arrives in a suit and tie with flowers in his hand. (He must of taken his son’s words to heart.)

The story is written quite cleverly written because Shirley can stay AND go back with her husband in the end. I believe that, in the end, Shirley and her husband made their marriage a success.

What a fantastic and thought-provoking film. A classic in my mind.

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originally posted: 06/30/05 18:59:17
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User Comments

8/15/17 Louise Wonderful fim - never get tired of it! 5 stars
2/22/15 Virginia Enjoyable down to earth movie 4 stars
8/31/14 Doug It's my favorite contemporary movie . 25 years later and its freshness hasn't diminished. 5 stars
4/16/13 Kate I loved every bit of this movie! 5 stars
3/01/11 Captain Slog half an hour too long but otherwise good 4 stars
3/02/08 dj I know this movie by heart - love it 5 stars
10/06/06 LucY so good, im doin a shirley valentine myself tomorrow. 5 stars
7/24/05 Carolyn Rathburn This film left me feeling a little confused, like Shirley was 3 stars
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  30-Aug-1989 (R)



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