Shirley Valentine

Pauline Collins plays Shirley Valentine-Bradshaw, an English housewife and mother who at 42 wants to get back in touch with the dreams of her rebellious youth, and who gets her chance when a friend invites her to come along on a two-week holiday in Greece. Adapted by Willy Russell from his own play (which had only one character when Collins won a Tony for playing her on the stage, but has been amply fleshed out for the film version), and directed by Lewis Gilbert, the movie is reminiscent in certain ways of two other Gilbert filmsAlfie (which was also narrated by the leading character addressing the camera) and Educating Rita (another actorly piece adapted by Russell from his own play)but, thanks to a delightful script and an equally delightful performance by Collins, Shirley Valentine is arguably a better work than either. With Tom Conti (as a Greek waiter), Julia McKenzie, Alison Steadman, Joanna Lumley, and Bernard Hill. (JR)

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