Monday, June 29, 2015

Where Have You Gone, Shirley Valentine?

The other day I had one of those Peggy Lee “Is that all there is?” moments.  (M-T Note:  If you’re too young to remember Peggy Lee, you’re probably too young to have a Peggy Lee moment.)  

It was just a fleeting feeling.  I don’t even remember what I was doing when it came over me, but there it was and there it went and it made me think of Shirley Valentine.  


Shirley Valentine was a 42-year-old housewife from a working-class Liverpool neighborhood with a pretty serious, mid-life identity crisis. 





The one-woman play debuted in 1986, and in 1989 the wonderful actress, Pauline Collins, took Shirley Valentine from the stage to the screen. 



Although the critics were not particularly kind to the film (Actually, they hated it.), taking pot shots not only at the film, but at the play on which it was based, most agreed that Pauline Collins’ Shirley Valentine saved the film from totally sinking into a sea of banalities and tired one-liners. 

O.K., so maybe it didn’t have the acidic bite of “The Vagina Monologues” ten years later, which, BTW, also debuted as a one-woman show, but it did take on a “women’s issue," and it did so with a sweetness, charm and gentle humor that makes it one of my favorite, guilty-pleasure chic flicks.    





Shirley Valentine Bradshaw is having a mid-life, identity crisis.  Where is Shirley Valentine?  Where did the years go?  What has she got to show for them?  Spoiled, unappreciative children and an emotionally distant husband, who only displays emotion if his “tea” (dinner) is not on the table when he gets home from work. 

In one of my favorite scenes from the movie, Shirley runs into an old school nemesis while shopping.  A downpour and the spray from a limousine pulling up at the curb has left Shirley thoroughly soaked through.  And, who gets out of the limo?  Marjorie Majors (Joanna Lumley), the golden girl from high school, the girl with perfect elocution, who made the perfect soufflé in cooking class and who now looks, if possible, even more beautiful than Shirley remembers.  Don’t you just hate that?  There is, however, a bit of a twist to this encounter. 




Where is Shirley Valentine?  Where did she go?  Apparently, she went to Greece. 



                                                    

When her best friend, Jane, wins a trip-for-two to Greece, Shirley leaves her husband a note and takes off with her friend.  No sooner do they arrive, than Jane abandons her for a man she met on the flight over, and Shirley finds herself alone.  But, being alone on a sunny Greek Island is not quite the same as being alone in her dingy kitchen in Liverpool. 





She has a brief affair with a Greek taverna owner, played by a rumpled and adorable Tom Conti with an over-the-top accent and mustache.  When the affair ends, she decides to stay on and takes a job as a waitress at the taverna, where she teaches tourists how to enjoy the local food. 

After a series of phone calls from her increasingly desperate husband, Joe packs his bag and heads for Greece to bring Shirley home.  




In the final scene of the film, Joe arrives at sunset.  Shirley is waiting for him on the beach, but he walks right past her without recognizing the lovely, tanned woman sitting at the table for two.  

Suddenly, he stops, turns round, walks back and sits down across from her.  

Joe Bradshaw, meet Shirley Valentine.  

20 comments:

  1. I remember seeing the movie a few years ago and loved it. I think I was a few years too young to understand what Shirley was feeling.......but I do now. I try each day to keep looking forward with happiness and hope. Thanks for the reminder.

    Warmly, Kathleen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's funny how the age we are at the time can affect the way we feel about a movie or play. I remember when I was at University reading a book in which a younger man has an affair with a much older woman, and I thought, "What could he possibly see in her?" Years later I read it again, and this time I thought, "What could she possibly see in him?

      Dear Kathleen, make each day a happy and hopeful one.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Cheers, M-T

      Delete
  2. One of my all time favorites! I am going to watch it today! The perfect antidote for what ails me....thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd be willing to bet that Shirley Valentine can take care of "what ails" you. A favorite film always gives me a new lease on life and a new perspective on the day.

      Thanks for stopping by, Kathleen.

      Cheers, M-T

      Delete
  3. I must admit I haven't seen this movie. It sounds current now!! Funny how things change, but stay the same too! Have a great day.
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you'd get a big kick out of this movie, Jennifer. There are elements of it that sound/look a little dated, but its basic message is timeless.

      'Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." The more things change, the more they stay the same.

      Talk soon, my Friend.

      xoxo, M-T

      Delete
  4. I saw this movie for the first time a few weeks ago (Netflix). And, it instantly became one of my favorites. . .as you put it "a guilty pleasure". It is identifiable on several levels, and I highly recommend it! Thanks for sharing this, because I had never heard of this movie until I saw it. In fact, I was surprised to find out it is over 25 years old already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you share my enthusiasm for this little gem. 25 years old!! Yes, indeed, and still timeless. The wonderful Pauline Collins is now in her 70s and still as adorable and feisty as ever. You may not be old enough to remember the series, but I fell in love w/her as the maid Sarah on "Upstairs Downstairs."

      Thanks for stopping by, Cynthia.

      Cheers, M-T

      Delete
  5. Love this movie. I remember so many scenes in it. The twist to Joanna Lumley's character was funny. Miss Collins as Sarah in Upstairs/Downstairs was terrific. She was so good in that series. And recently saw her in Quartert with the fabulous Maggie Smith. Quartert is about aging opera singers living together in a Home. Some nice moments there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved Pauline Collins in "Upstairs Downstairs." Actually, I loved the whole series from beginning to end. I have "Quartet" on my list of must-sees, but have not seen it yet, particularly since it has to do with opera, which is my big passion, you would think I'd have seen it by now. Adore Maggie Smith, too.

      Always enjoy your comments, Rosie. Thanks for stopping by.

      Cheers, M-T

      Delete
  6. I have always wanted to see "Shirley Valentine" but for one reason or another I never have. I must rent it when I get home. It sounds fun, touching and relevant.

    Relevant because at I am on vacation and the kids are watching a kid's movie and the Mr. is snoozing. Me? I am alone reading my favorite blogs with with a glass of wine. Since Greece is broke, can I get a cheap flight? LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Timing is everything in life, and it looks as if the time is right for you to enjoy this movie. Would love to know your thoughts on it.

      BTW, Greece is, indeed, broke. Looks like there won't be a third bailout by the IMF, so you might get a cheap flight, but you may not get much else when you get there. LOL!!

      Cheers, M-T

      Delete
  7. I loved that film. I don't remember that scene. Thanks for reminding me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are lots of wonderful little scenes in this film, but I think this is my favorite. Of course, the ending is touching, but a bit ambiguous. Does she or does she not return to Liverpool with her husband???

      Thanks for stopping by, Josephine.

      Cheers, M-T

      Delete
  8. Well, I'm just going to pop on over to Netflix and put this in my queue. Thanks for the recommendation, M-T.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sure you'll love it, Deborah. There are so many wonderful moments. The critics may have been dismissive of it, but we Ladies love it. Enjoy.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Cheers, M-T

      Delete
  9. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
    What a lovely, relaxing post this is! It did totally transform me to a very happy time, watching this video that I didn't know. Yes, Upstairs Downstairs I've been following and I loved that class. Too much of all that has evaporated it looks like... But we still can cling to it and add bits and pieces of it to our daily life.
    Hugs,
    Mariette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad I was able to transport you to a happy time, if only for a few minutes. Put "Shirley Valentine" on your list of films to see. I know you'll love it.

      Big hugs, ma chère,

      M-T

      Delete
  10. Shirley Valentine has been one of my favorite movies for years. I have it recorded and watch it about once a year when I am in that "Sheesh, I'm talking to the wall" kind of mood. I have often thought that if I went on a vacation somewhere that was as beautiful as the part of Greece that the movie was set in, I might not be able to make myself come back home, so I had better take my little Pomeranian with me if I ever go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you feel the same as I do about this charming movie. Yes, I sometimes feel I'm talking to the wall, as well. It's good to get away, but it's always good to go home again.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Susie.

      Cheers, M-T

      Delete

My dear Readers, I do so love reading your comments and appreciate the time you take to make them. To make it easier to leave your comments, I have disabled that annoying "Word Verification" setting, which Blogger (in its infinite wisdom) enabled without my consent.

If you have a problem posting your comment, just send it to me at frenchtouchimage@gmail.com.

I will be happy to post it for you and link back to you. I look forward to hearing from you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...