Shirley Valentine

During the Christmas holiday, I watched the film adaptation of Willy Russell’s play “Shirley Valentine” which includes the very moving performance by Pauline Collins.

It is my favourite film of all time – how can that be? Why?

The words touch me very deeply and the pathos “Hello Wall” is intermingled most perfectly with the humour “Yes I’ll be having sex for breakfast, sex for lunch, sex for dinner and sex for supper – have you never heard of it – it’s called the “F” Plan”

Shirley Valentine has been lost in her role as wife, mother and housekeeper and she is so lonely and isolated that she talks to the wall. Her family are grown and her husband no longer notices her. There are flashbacks in the film to happier times.

I crumble at the part of the film where she is sat alone drinking wine at the sea edge on her holiday alone in Greece – for her a moment she has dreamed of for weeks – and yet the dream in that moment is not delivered – she says to herself (and to us):-

“I have lived such a little life and soon even that will be over” 

“Why do we get all of this life and dreams and feelings if most of it goes unused?”

“I have allowed myself to be lost in my role as wife, mother and housekeeper – what has happened to the girl who was Shirley Valentine?”

I crumble again uncontrollably at the end of the film where her husband, having come to Greece to claim her back, walks past her at the sea edge – she calls to him – and he looks back and says “Shirley, I didn’t recognise you”

She says “I was the wife, the mother, the housekeeper – now I am Shirley Valentine again – would you like to join me for a drink?

And so – what is my blog today trying to say?:-

For me, (who experiences deep unhappiness and emotional upheaval in my life, perhaps like you), it says two things:-

1/ If you are lost in what defines your life to others – make every effort to find your soul – I do this by sitting in silence, listening to my soul, reading, blogging, painting and walking.

2/ Look afresh at your partner (especially, if like me, you have been together for many years and are pummeled by life’s ups and downs) and love them!.

Help them to maintain their own souls by recognising their needs as well as those of your own.

My next blog will be: Epiphany

William Defoe

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