Shirley Valentine


by Tuna

Shirley Valentine is a British romantic comedy based on a one-woman stage play. Both the play and the movie starred Pauline Collins as Shirley, an empty nest woman in her late 40s who has essentially become a cook and maid for her husband. She feels that she has lost her real self. She relates episodes from her school days, where she was a rebel and jealous of the teacher's pet, and then sees the same woman she was so jealous of getting out of a limo. She is green with envy until she discovers that this woman is now a hooker, and always envied Shirley.

When her girlfriend invites her to go to Greece for a two week vacation, Shirley feels she can't get away until her husband forbids it. After several other missteps, she ends up in a Greek Island where her feminist friend meets a man Shirley calls "Walking Groin" and abandons her. Shirley loves Greece, however, and has an affair with a pub owner. Has she found herself? Will she return to Liverpool and her drab life with her drab husband? Is the pub owner, played brilliantly by Tom Conti, her true love?

A brilliant script, great supporting players such as Joanna Lumley, and the perfect lead (Pauline Collins), made for a very enjoyable watch. Further, many men could stand this lesson in what a woman means when she says she has "lost herself."




Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:


A very good film. Roger Ebert's extremely low score was an aberration. A complete box office failure prevented the film from garnering a B-, but you might enjoy it even if you don't normally like granny flicks, romantic comedies, or stage adaptations. Although women over 45 like it best, even men rate it a respectable 7.1 at IMDb.



* widescreen anamorphic (film 2.35:1, DVD 16x9)

* no meaningful features





Pauline Collins was nominated for an acting Oscar, and the film also received a best song nomination.

1 Roger Ebert (of 4 stars)
73 Rotten Tomatoes  (% positive)


7.2 IMDB summary (of 10)


Box Office Mojo. It never reached more than eight theaters.


  • Pauline Collins shows her breasts and buns in clear light.