The prudish behaviour stereotypically associated with the British goes astray in this heart warming story of friendship and self discovery. What makes this story especially compelling is that it is based on a true story. Helen Mirren and Julie Walters head the cast of women who get together for a good cause, to raise money for leukemia research. As members of the WI, the Women's Institute of Great Britain, the usual fund raising techniques were becoming boring and predictable. When Annie's (Julie Walters) husband dies of leukemia, Chris (Helen Mirren) comes up with a novel idea for raising money in his memory. Her idea was to make the theme of the yearly calendar as the women from the WI posing nude for the photos. (That's nude, not naked). At first the women balked at the idea, but once they came around, the calendar took off more than anyone expected. The success of the calendar made the women famous not only in their community but as far away as the United States which even brought them on a visit to the Tonight Show. The success of the calendar also helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for their charity. Although an uplifting story, there were other aspects of fame which were explored that caused great reflection including how celebrities are treated by the British tabloids and how fame can strain the greatest friendships and marriages. With a wonderful cast playing the roles of self- conscious women undertaking an unlikely project, what is most genuine about the film is the truth that is conveyed by ordinary women overcoming their self doubts and the doubts of others.
The Naked Truth
The Real Calendar Girls who were the inspiration for the movie
Creating the Calendar
Interviews with director Nigel Cole and the cast