Australian Council on Children and the Media

Calendar Girls

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Short takes

Parental guidance under 13 (Themes, Lang., Nudity)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Calendar Girls
  • a review of Calendar Girls completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 7 October 2003.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 While there is nothing scary or violent in this movie for parents of young children to be concerned about the content of the film would make it unsuitable for young children.
Children aged 8-13 Children aged 8 to 13 would need parental guidance in viewing this movie.
Children over the age of 13 Children over 13 would be okay to see this film with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Calendar Girls
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Adult themes, Nudity, Low level coarse language
Length 108 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The women of Knapely, a small town in Yorkshire, meet regularly at the Women’s Institute to hear speakers on such subjects as jam making and how to cook broccoli. However, one of the women, Annie Baker has a husband who has been diagnosed with leukaemia. John Baker’s health rapidly degenerates but before he dies he writes a poem to Annie in which he says that Yorkshire women are like flowers – “they are most glorious in their last stage”. After his death Annie wants to raise money for the leukaemia unit so together with her good friend Chris they decide to make a calendar in John’s memory. However they want the women from the Women’s Institute “in their last stage” to pose (discreetly) nude which raises considerable concern from the ladies as well as the Women’s Institute hierarchy.

The women are persuaded that the photographer won’t see them nude and that all the “important bits” are covered for the photo and so they get enough volunteers. One of the women, Ruth, takes much persuading as she feels her husband wouldn’t agree to it, which he doesn’t. Ironically her husband is having an affair with another woman which Ruth uncovers and therefore feels free to do the calendar. Chris’s husband on the other hand, is very supportive of her, but her teenage son Jem is highly embarrassed and starts acting anti-socially.

The calendar becomes a huge success and the women are invited to Hollywood to appear on a Tonight Show where they are treated like royalty. At first Chris decides not to go as she feels Jem needs her at home but she finds it hard to resist the fame and heads off to meet up with the other women. Hollywood invites problems of its own but the ladies have to sort through these issues. The calendar to date has raised 578,000 pounds.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is no violence in this movie.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

None of concern

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

None of concern

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

None of concern

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

None of concern

Sexual references

There are quite a lot of sexual references in this film including the following:

  • Chris finds a ‘girlie’ magazine under Jem’s bed and flicks through the pages. She has a laugh and doesn’t confront him about it.
  • One of the women says “it’s the firmness of the buttocks I’m worried about”.
  • Chris says about John that she’s “just seen his backside and it’s not like George’s” (Clooney).
  • Jem and his friend discuss girls and the friend says that “she has the most fantastic tits” and he imagines they feel “like big ripe plums”.
  • Jem’s friend also says that his Mum “went off her head when she found his rubber housemaid”.
  • While Chris is in Hollywood she sees a local newspaper from Knapely with headlines saying “No Sex for Mr. January” and how that Rod (Chris’s husband) hasn’t “had it” for weeks.
  • There is also quite a bit of talk about tits and breast size.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some brief nudity in this movie which is integral to the story and mostly done in a respectful way. Chris’s breasts are fully shown briefly and one of the women is photographed with a pile of currant buns in front of her – the cherries on top are placed strategically to look like nipples. Most of the photography of the women is done so that not a lot is exposed, apart from cleavage and buttocks.

The girlie magazine under Jem’s bed shows breasts not fully exposed and a girlie calendar in a mechanic’s shop with semi nude pictures from where Chris gets the idea. Neither of these is respectful to women.

Use of substances

There is some use of drugs and alcohol. Jem and his friend drink wine out of a bottle and share a joint. Jem is arrested for possession but is not charged because the ‘joint’ contained oregano not marijuana.

Coarse language

There is a quite an amount of coarse language in this movie including many uses of the following words:

  • bloody
  • bloody hell
  • sod off
  • sodding.

In a nutshell

There isn’t really any take home message in this movie but there are some values that parents may wish to encourage including:

  • selflessness
  • friendship
  • loyalty
  • determination.

Values parents may wish to discourage include:

  • it’s okay to pose nude if it’s for a good cause
  • not realising or caring about how one’s actions might affect those close to us, in this case Jem.
  • adultery.

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