Calendar Girls Movie Review and Movie Summary (2022)

Like the 2003 narrative film also called “Calendar girls,” based on the true story of a women’s group in Yorkshire who produced a calendar featuring elderly ladies in tastefully nude poses, and like the documentary “Young at Heart,” about nursing home residents performing modern songs such as “I Want a New Drug”, “This is a film about finding meaning and connection near the end of life. In a conversation, the women talk matter-of-factly about what makes a good death and whether assisted death is a good option. Another member must go due to illness, a very painful parting.The documentary mixes scenes of rehearsals, interviews and performances with dreamy, impressionistic moments, one loading a car, one in a beauty salon, with the women holding hand mirrors, adding a poetic, wistful quality to the story.

A newcomer to the group says she has been a caretaker her whole life since her father left when she was 15 and her mother was unable to manage the household. For the first time, as a calendar girl, she does something for herself. Later we’ll see her leave Florida to help her daughter with a new baby and tell us there was no other decision she could make. She went where she was needed. For a while.

Some husbands find it difficult to adjust to their wives’ new lives as performers. A woman explains that her husband calls her lazy, but she is happy to spend her time creating elaborate headpieces for the performers. She is not lazy. She has just decided that “I don’t want to clean house anymore.” Another says her husband’s reaction to the glamorous but skimpy costumes is, “Do you go out looking like that?” We see a woman struggling with a man who may be experiencing some sort of cognitive decline and doesn’t want her to leave him.

The costumes and dance numbers are fun, but the most touching thing is the way the women take care of each other. Many refer to the group as their sisters. They are disciplined but understanding. When a choreographer tells the dancers to “bring that belly in!” one replies with sad good humor: “Some of our stomachs don’t listen.” A beginner hasn’t learned all the dances yet, so they plan a performance around the ones she knows and give her a little extra help. The group’s purpose and sisterhood transcend what might otherwise be insurmountable differences. One member is a former cop who spent his life around men and is now “in a world with 30 sisters telling me how to be a lady.” The woman behind the music is just out of prison. One of the film’s purest pleasures is watching her manage the set list on an iPad and bob her head in time with the dancers’ movements.

Erik Erikson wrote that at every stage of life we ​​have a choice between a healthy path that leads to growth, meaning and connection or one that leads to isolation, doubt and a sense of failure. The Calendar Girls have made the choices that lead to wisdom and a sense of fulfillment in old age: learning, friendship, art, helping others, and having a lot of fun along the way.

Now playing in select theaters.

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