Category Archives: Finding Your Voice movies

Cinematherapy: Shirley Valentine, a Finding Your Voice Movie

Shirley Valentine (1989)

Stars: Pauline Collins, Tom Conti, Bernard Hill

Director: Lewis Gilbert

Writer: Willy Russell, based on his play

 

No worries: Shirley Valentine Bradshaw (Pauline Collins) isn’t climbing the walls. She’s just talking to them, including the fourth one, which lets us into her thoughts that she doesn’t bother sharing with her husband (Bernard Hill). A middle-class British housewife, Shirley has lost her sense of who she is beyond the wife who gets eggs-and-chips on the table by six o’clock prompt. Her husband (Bernard Hill) left his playfulness and flirtatiousness back in the disco era. As for passion, Shirley grumbles, “I think sex is like supermarkets—you know, overrated. Just a lot of pushing and something and you still come out with every little at the end.”

For all her flippant comments, though, Shirley is on the brink of packing up some panties with lace and a silk kimono to spend a fortnight in Greece. But it isn’t a lover she’s seeking—although hey, a frolic with a local innkeeper (Tom Conti) might go well with that Greek wine and sunshine. No, what Shirley really wants is to jump feet first into a bottomless ocean of sensuality and reclaim a self that isn’t afraid to make waves, enjoy a meal by herself, and tell someone “no,” putting a period at the end. She’s setting new terms now that she’s found that paradise is writing your own rules and letting go of the old ideas of who you are and what limits contain you.

When you find that your unflappable younger self seems like a dream child that became lost somewhere around the time that Thursdays petrified into steak-and-potatoes night, Shirley Valentine is the perfect aperitif, a tonic that will rejuvenate you and remind you that all you are seeking is within and always was.

 

Points to Ponder:

Is there a part of yourself that you need to reclaim, and if so, what rules are going to get smashed if you do?

Do you have enough silk kimono occasions in your life and if not, why not?

Who is the you that is reading these questions and how can you help her express herself?

 

—Nancy

 

 

Shirley Valentine movie poster

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Rebecca, A Cinematherapy Martyr Movie

Wishing you could be whisked away by a loving man who sets you up financially, renders irrelevant your lack of career or personal direction, and gives you your own English country mansion to rattle about in? Rebecca, a Cinematherapy martyr movie, is a great reminder that abdicating responsibility for your life decisions and letting some guy steer the boat is never a wise idea, even if it does make you feel cozy on a cold autumn morning.

 

Our shy heroine (Joan Fontaine), whose sense of self is so minimal that the screenwriter never reveals her name, is thrilled when wealthy Maxim deWinter (Laurence Olivier) deigns to marry down and rescue her from a life as a paid companion to a most disagreeable busybody (Florence Bates). However, for all Maxim’s patronizing promises to care for his new bride, and his silly little flirtatious remarks about how she ought never to grow up, our gal is going to have to face reality. Frankly, her new knight in shining armor has something hidden deep in the darkest waters of his soul that is going to surface one day and demand to be dealt with. And until the new Mrs. DeWinter stops with the apologetic bowing and scraping before the servants and starts getting a reasonable sense of entitlement, she’s going to be haunted by the late Rebecca DeWinter’s reputation as the hostess with the mostess–and by Rebecca’s favorite freakishly devoted maid, Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson). Honey, we know you hate confrontation, but here’s a good rule to live by: When the hired help starts fingering the carefully preserved lingerie of its late owner and suggesting that you focus on your inadequacies and lean a little further out that third-floor French window, it’s time to put your foot down and speak up.

 

Feeling the need to go below deck and let someone else take over? Watch Rebecca (1940), a Cinematherapy cautionary  tale about avoiding responsibility so you can be glad you won’t someday have to pay the price for someone else’s cowardice.

 

Rebecca Cinematherapy martyr movie

 

 

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Filed under Cinematherapy, Finding Your Voice movies, martyr movies, therapeutic movies, Uncategorized

Happy 90th Birthday Doris Day!

Happy 90th birthday Doris Day! Here’s a great subversive comedy of hers that falls under the category of Finding Your Voice or The Power of One. It’s called It Happened to Jane, and it’s about a single mom/entrepreneur who goes all out to fight a nasty corporation and rallies her entire town around her to boycott the company. Her chutzpah inspires an insecure Jack Lemmon to follow her lead and find his own courage to stand up for himself. Oh sure, she looks wholesome and sweet as pie, but don’t. mess. with. Jane. Or Doris Day, animal rights advocate.

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Filed under chick flicks, cinema therapy, Cinematherapy, Doris Day, films to watch when you're depressed, films to watch when you're sad, Finding Your Voice movies, inspiring movies, Jack Lemmon, Power of One movies, therapeutic movies