Shirley Valentine is one of my favorite movies of all time. I watched it again last night, and, as always, came away from it feeling uplifted – time hasn’t dated the movie at all, perhaps because it’s about something that’s simply timeless.
On its surface, the movie (and the award-winning play from which the movie was adapted) is about Shirley Bradshaw, a middle-aged housewife living a stagnant, loveless life, and the choices she makes during a two-week vacation in Greece.
But at its core, it’s about remembering who we really are – and reminding us that in every moment, the choice to be who we really are is always there, no matter what conventional wisdom might dictate.
There are lines in this movie that always make me cry. For example, when Shirley’s sitting on the beach by the ocean, and she’s thinking about why we get all this life, when it can’t be used – “That’s where Shirley Valentine disappeared to. She got lost in all this unused life.” Or the scene where she says, “I used to be the mother. I used to be the wife. But now I’m Shirley Valentine again.”
And I always feel so good when the movie is over; my dreams become real again, alive, beckoning. Everything shimmers with the brightness of possibility.
“I’ve fallen in love with the idea of living”, Shirley says, and that’s what this movie does for me, and a little bit more – it reminds me to fall in love with myself, with the me I really am.
It’s the same feeling I get after reading an Elizabeth Berg novel.
Have you watched Shirley Valentine, either the movie or the play? What are some of your favorite “comfort movies”?