Coming Of (Middle) Age
WHILE I DID MISS OUT ON SEEING THE NEW MARY POPPINS MOVIE while down in Texas recently I did manage to catch one of my all-time favorite films just the other night. Some people classify it as a “Chick Flick,” but I think that it is better thought of as a “Human Flick.”
“Shirley Valentine” was released in 1989 to less than raving reviews. Well, you can’t please everyone. The reviews may have been rather tepid, but Pauline Collins got an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, along with a number of other awards. I guess that it was liked only by the people who saw it without any preconceived ideas.
Shirley (Played by Pauline Collins) is a British housewife mired in middle-age, and wondering where everything she hoped for has gone.
“I’ve led a very little life.”
— Shirley Valentine
Shirley feels that she has disappeared into a mind and soul numbing routine. Her husband is caught in
his own rut that has isolated them from each other. They share their house, but are living separate and unsatisfying lives.
Shirley’s life takes a remarkable twist when one of her “lady friends” wins a contest that offer a two week vacation trip to Greece and she asks Shirley to accompany her.
And now you need to download the movie.
Every year there are countless movies made that are “Coming of Age” films about the difficult and awkward transition from childhood through adolescence to adulthood. There is a big market for those. Less frequently does one find a different kind of “Coming of Age “ film – one about the transition from our prime adult years into “Middle-Age” when we begin to look back on our lives. We look at where we have been and where we are now, and what do we have ahead of us. And what are we going to do about it?
While the basic story is light and entertaining with other characters adding to Shirley’s mountain of things to think about there is an undertone that hits home easily. Life is a serious business.
I don’t often recommend movies – mainly because I don’t think most of them warrant any kind of recommendation. “Shirley Valentine” is thirty years old now, but it doesn’t look it or feel it. It has a freshness that makes it as pertinent as today.
That’s it. Short. Sweet and to the point today. Go get a snack.