Shirley Valentine

Film, Comedy

Time Out says

Willy Russell transforms his one-hander into a superior kitchenette adventure which roams from Liverpool to Mykonos, finding room for all the characters who in the more satisfying theatre version were figments of Shirl's imagination. 42-year-old Shirley (Collins) is so raddled by life that she talks to the wall of her strip-pine kitchen, and wonders 'Why, if they give us so much life, aren't we allowed to make use of it?' Hence an improbable plot device by which her feminist friend wins a holiday for two in Greece, and Shirley, after much guilt, doubt and abuse from her plankish husband (Hill), decides to go. But the virtue of Russell's writing is that, for all the cracks, occasional duff lines, and tendency to simplify and stereotype, few can match his ability to make us laugh, cry and ultimately care. Loneliness creeps with Shirley to the Med, and only after a brief dalliance with a Greek local (Conti) does she start to live for real: self-respect and self-reliance beat sex on a boat anyday. Collins is magnificent, and though the film's sexual politics may not be to all tastes, it deserves to be seen for its glowing belief in the worth of personal rediscovery.

By: SGr


Release details

108 mins

Cast and crew

Lewis Gilbert
Willy Russell
Pauline Collins
Tom Conti
Julia McKenzie
Alison Steadman
Joanna Lumley
Sylvia Syms
Bernard Hill
George Costigan
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