“The future lies in kinky people.”
A hardworking British waitress (Julie Walters) begins a new career as a madam, catering to the whims of middle-aged men with kinky sexual fantasies.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Morality Police
- Prostitutes and Gigolos
- Strong Females
Several years after her breakthrough role in Educating Rita (1983), Julie Walters gave another stellar performance in this Terry Jones-directed pseudo-biopic, loosely based on the notorious life story of British “party hostess” Cynthia Payne. Walters immediately convinces us that her “Christine Painter” is a practical, no-nonsense, driven woman who — after only very brief hesitation — finds it pleasantly straightforward to earn a living while orchestrating solutions to men’s secret desires; it’s certainly preferable to a marriage of convenience (her only other obvious way up). The screenplay follows her rise to tenuous success, as she shifts from simply brokering sexual exchanges (and engaging in a few herself) to hosting notoriously gonzo “sex parties” in her house; conflict emerges both in Painter’s troubled relationship with her disapproving father, and her run-ins with Britain’s [morality] police (who are portrayed as unequivocal baddies). Certain scenes — such as Painter’s personal fantasy sequences — feel superfluous and/or poorly handled, but the film as a whole remains true to its intention of presenting Painter/Payne’s story in a sympathetic and lively fashion, and remains worth a look simply for Walters’ strong performance.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Julie Walters as Christine Painter
No, though it’s worth a look simply for Walters’ performance.