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United Kingdom 1989
Directed by
Lewis Gilbert
108 minutes
Rated M

2 stars

Shirley Valentine

Pauline Collins plays the eponymous heroine in the role she made her own in the hit one-woman stage play by Willy Russell. Whatever the merits it had in that incarnation here it is familiar feel-good stuff about a married woman with grown-up kids awakening to her long-suppressed self, laboriously given the distinctively self-deprecating English luke-warm and slightly sentimental treatment by veteran producer-director Lewis Gilbert, best known for the original Alfie,1966)..

Gilbert, who also filmed Russell's thematically-related play Educating Rita gives the film a naturalistic setting including flashbacks to Shirley's Liverpudlian schooldays, and later, Greek sunsets and throws in Tom Conti as the predictable Hellenic pants-man in what has the appeal of a dated English suburban sit-com.




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