Women Talking Dirty

Women Talking Dirty


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

They don't talk dirty enough. Compared with Beautiful Creatures, another buddy girls movie which was set in Glasgow, this is tame stuff.

Cora (Helena Bonham Carter) goes to Edinburgh University from a nice working-class family in Aberdeenshire. Ellen (Gina McKee) is a local lass from the middle-classes, who has a talent for drawing.

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When Cora leaves home, her mum's last words are, "Remember, when you get there just don't!". When she gets there she does, blatantly, loudly, outrageously - shop lifting, sex, booze, dope. Before you can say, "Hang on a sec, darling", she's preggers and her French boyfriend's on the boat train back to Paris.

Ellen is shy with boys. "I don't like people seeing my body," she says. One of her breasts is larger than the other. She prefers conformity to irregularity, a true daughter of Corstorphine. She is picked up in the pub by Daniel (James Purefoy), who is too attractive to resist. She marries him before realising that he's an addicted gambler and womaniser.

The girls meet in the St Vincent bar and become best friends. Ellen works for a design company, run by safe Stanley (James Nesbitt), drawing cartoons. Cora can't work because she has to look after her son and, quite quickly, by mistake, another baby.

They talk about what hell their lives are. Cora says, "You're lucky. You've got a job that you're good at." Ellen says, "I really envy you." What she wants is babies and she hasn't got any. Somehow, this doesn't make a movie. Daniel behaves badly, which livens it up for a second, and then there are Cora's "eccentric" neighbours, the pianist (Eileen Atkins) who played with Rachmaninov and the lovable gay couple (Richard Wilson and Kenneth Cranham), who seem to have wandered in from a Fifties British comedy.

For once in her life Bonham Carter doesn't act everyone off the screen. In fact, she's awful. Her accent thrashes about like a salmon on a gaff and she can't even make Cora's fiesty personality believable. Anna Friel did a far better job in Me Without You. McKee is calm, serene and lovely. It's an easier role - the victim - but she fits it beautifully.

It is sad that Elton John's first entrance into movie production isn't going to set the Tweed on fire. Written by novelist Isla Dewar, from Fife, and directed by Coky Giedroye who made Stella Does Tricks with Kelly Macdonald - now there's a girl who could play Cora - and shot in Edinburgh and the surrounding country, it is deeply disappointing. Why is it that Cora, who has no money, lives in a posh part of town and is able to leave the kids for long periods when she feels like it? Any single mum will tell you that's not the way it works.

Reviewed on: 06 Dec 2001
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Women Talking Dirty packshot
Helena Bonham Carter and Gina McGee are best friends in Edinburgh, being messed up by men.
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Director: Coky Gierdroye

Writer: Isla Dewar, based on her novel

Starring: Helena Bonham Carter, Gina McKee, James Purefoy, James Nesbitt, Eileen Atkins, Richard Wilson, Kenneth Cranham

Year: 1999

Runtime: 93 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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