Mark's Best Actress Challenge

…In relentless pursuit of all performances nominated and won!

Pauline Collins in “Shirley Valentine” (nomination, 1989)

It is my great pleasure to introduce Shirley Valentine… that is, the endearing and darling Pauline Collins as Shirley Valentine, her Oscar nominated performance from 1989.  Collins had previously played this role – which suits her to an absolute T – in London and on Broadway, winning the Tony in the bargain.

Bored with her life as a middle-aged housewife in the suburbs, Shirley takes a close friend up on an invitation to suddenly take a 2 week vacation to Greece.  She leaves behind her befuddled husband, Joe, who is truly at a loss without her (but who, in husbandly fashion, always seemed to look right through her when she was actually there).  While in Greece, Shirley blossoms and comes to find the life she has felt she was always seeking – and becoming, once more, the spunky and fun-loving Shirley Valentine she “used to be” as a rebellious teen and pre-marriage.  She becomes enamored with a Greek bar-owner named Costas (Tom Conti), and in his company finally feels appreciated for the woman she is.  When the time comes for her to return to her life in London, she is faced with the ultimate decision:  should she return to what she unwittingly had become pre-Greece, or proceed to live her life as she feels it was truly meant to be?

This film was an absolute delight to watch – largely due to Collins’ wonderful performance.  She is stunning and radiant, and becomes even more so as Shirley’s transformation unfolds.  For a majority of the film, she speaks directly to the camera – that is, when she’s not confiding in her kitchen wall!  Within 10 minutes of watching, you feel you are one of Shirley’s oldest and dearest friends and confidants.  This film is truly one of those movies that makes you feel good about life – and perhaps even think about whether you are living your life to its fullest potential.  I loved the romantic scenes between Collins and Conti as well.  Very charming.  I laughed right out loud at a particular scene they shared together on a boat (because I want you to see this film, I will not divulge the details!).  If you would like to watch a movie that will honestly make you feel good – and pull you out of the doldrums of everyday life, whether you are middle-aged or not – rent this film.

It was inevitable in 1989 that Jessica Tandy would snag the Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy – a tribute she truly deserved and I will not begrudge her of it.  I am so happy, however, that Pauline Collins received the recognition she earned – even with just the nomination – with this performance.  It is an engaging movie – and journey – to revisit time and again.  And for you Ab Fab fans, look for Joanna Lumley in a brief, funny cameo.

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This entry was posted on May 8, 2010 by .
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