Women Talking Dirty
Lady and the goon. Ellen and Cora (McKee and Bonham Carter) are doin' it for themselves
dir Coky Giedroyc
scr Isla Dewar
with Gina McKee, Helena Bonham Carter, James Purefoy, James Nesbitt, Eileen Atkins, Richard Wilson, Kenneth Cranham, Julien Lambroschini, Ken Drury, Elaine C Smith, Barbara Rafferty, Caroline Young
release UK 7.Dec.01
99/UK 1h33

2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
After seeing this film it's sadly not surprising that it has been on the shelf for two years. Despite one fantastic performance, the film is uneven and utterly unrealistic. It tells the story of two women whose lives circle around each other in Edinburgh over the course of about six years. Ellen (McKee) is a cartoonist who marries Daniel (Purefoy), the man of her dreams who turns out to be a gambling, womanising nightmare. But she still loves him! Meanwhile, Cora (Bonham Carter) falls for a Frenchman (Lambroschini) who leaves her pregnant. She meets Ellen, they become best friends, and then later Daniel, pretending to be someone else, seduces Cora, gets her pregnant again and runs off. Cora can't tell Ellen, and we wait years for the secret to come out that might destroy their friendship.

Despite that synopsis, the story isn't half bad, lending itself to all sorts of examinations of relational issues from a specifically female point of view, most notably the way these two women depend on each other to sort out all their other relationships! McKee gives one of her typical ace performances--transparent, subtle, clever and telling. But everything else falters, from Bonham Carter's goony turn as the wide-eyed, hair-bunched free spirit to Giedroyc's awkward direction and Dewar's contrived script (based on her novel). Gaps in logic abound: Why after a year has Cora never even seen a photo of Daniel? Where did the two of them go for their tryst? Why wouldn't Cora tell her best friend the truth, no matter how painful, after all they'd been through together? Doesn't Ellen ever clean beneath her sofa cushions? Why is Ellen's coworker Stanley (Nesbitt) obsessed with the daft Cora? There's just no sense of honest interaction between the characters--no feeling of real involvement in each other's lives. And everything gets increasingly unlikely as the sisterhood banner is raised high. Not an auspicious first film for Elton John's Rocket Pictures; better things to come, we hope!
adult themes, language cert 15 15.Oct.01

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Will Napier, London: "Well I thought it was great!" (23.Jul.02)

dim, greece: 5/5 "It was the best atmospheric movie ever! If you get the feeling, you should feel on the top of the world. Give it a blast!" (11.Aug.06)

2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall