Shirley Valentine

Watch Shirley Valentine

"No one thought she had the courage, the nerve, or the lingerie."
  • R
  • 1989
  • 1 hr 48 min
  • 7.2  (8,717)
  • 52

Shirley Valentine is a 1989 romantic comedy-drama film directed by Lewis Gilbert and written by Willy Russell, based on his play of the same name. The movie stars Pauline Collins in the titular role, with Tom Conti and Julia McKenzie in supporting roles. The film is set against the backdrop of Thatcher's Britain in the late 1980s and follows the story of a middle-aged housewife, Shirley Valentine Bradshaw (Collins), who is longing for a more fulfilling life.

The film opens with an introduction to Shirley's mundane life in her working-class suburban home in Liverpool. She is married to Joe (Bernard Hill), a narrow-minded and controlling man who sees her only as a homemaker and a mother. Shirley has grown tired of her monotonous routine and craves something new and exciting in her life. As she prepares Joe's dinner, she talks to the wall, a habit she has developed to keep herself company in the absence of anyone else to talk to.

One day, Shirley's friend Jane (Alison Steadman) invites her to join her on a trip to Greece. Although apprehensive at first, Shirley eventually decides to take the leap and embark on her first-ever solo trip. Once in Greece, Shirley experiences a complete change in scenery, culture, and people. She is smitten by the beauty of the island and is reintroduced to her sense of adventure, wonder, and whimsy.

As Shirley begins to explore the island, she meets Costas Caldes (Tom Conti), a Greek tavern owner who shows her the hidden spots of Greece and opens her eyes to new experiences. Shirley and Costas develop feelings for each other, and Shirley finally gets a taste of romantic passion after all these years.

However, she is soon faced with a dilemma when she realizes that her time on the island is running out. She has to decide whether to stay in Greece with Costas or return home to face reality. Shirley also grapples with the guilt and shame of breaking her marital vows and hurting Joe, who is unaware of her infidelity.

Throughout the movie, Shirley is shown breaking the fourth wall by speaking directly to the camera, revealing her inner thoughts and emotions to the audience. The device is used effectively to add a layer of intimacy to the character and her journey.

Shirley Valentine is ultimately a story about self-discovery, empowerment, and finding the courage to live life on one's own terms. Pauline Collins delivers a standout performance as Shirley, displaying both vulnerability and strength in her character arc. The film also boasts a strong supporting cast, including Julia McKenzie as her friend Marjorie and Tom Conti as her love interest Costas. The picturesque scenery of Greece is also a highlight of the film, captured beautifully by the cinematographer, Alan Hume.

The film's themes of women's liberation, self-fulfillment, and the restrictions of gender roles were particularly relevant in the late 1980s when the movie was released. Shirley Valentine resonated with audiences across the globe and became a beloved classic. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards and has since been adapted into a stage play and a radio play.

In conclusion, Shirley Valentine is a heartwarming and bittersweet story that speaks to anyone who has ever felt trapped in their own life. The movie's witty script, memorable performances, and gorgeous location make it a timeless classic that continues to inspire generations of viewers.

Shirley Valentine is a 1989 romance movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 48 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2 and a MetaScore of 52.

Shirley Valentine
Where to Watch Shirley Valentine
Shirley Valentine is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Shirley Valentine for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 48 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (8,717)
  • Metascore