Irina Palm: Film #143 of Film 365

Saturday 25th February 2012

Director: Sam Garbarski
Year: 2007
Stars: Marianne Faithfull, Miki Manojlovic, Kevin Bishop, Siobhan Hewlett, Dorka Gryllus

I'd been putting off watching this for a little while because I wasn't 100% sure about the content. The film got good reviews when it was released, which is why I had recorded it in the first place. But every time I went to select a movie I wanted to watch, somehow this was never it.

Marianne Faithfull plays Maggie, a woman whose grandson is terminally ill. Going to Australia to be treated is the only option he has left. Unfortunately, the family is already massively in debt (due to the boys previous treatments), and are struggling to come up with the money. In order to help, Maggie gets a job in a sex club in London (it's not quite as bad as you're imagining, but this is a sex club). And she turns out to be very good at it. It all sounds very titillating (which is what initially put me off), but it's really not.

Irina Palm (Maggie's "stage" name) manages to avoid all the cliches and pitfalls a movie like this could fall into. More than anything, it's a character study of people just doing what they can for their families. Nothing feels unrealistic, from Maggie's decision to work at the club (which takes some time), to her son's reaction when he (thinks) he finds out what's going on. Don't let the bizarre subject matter put you off- this is a really interesting, different movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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I live in Bristol with my husband Dan (who I married in July 2007), my son Joe (born 2012) and daughter Jess (born 2015). I work at UWE (the University of the West of England) in Bristol as a Research and Open Access Librarian. I'm orginally from Exeter, so moving back to Bristol is a bit like coming home - especially as I studied for my undergraduate degree here (also at UWE). I love travelling and movies, although I get to do a lot less of both since the birth of our children. Although we have still managed to fit in holidays to the Isles of Scilly, Chamonix and a summer in California since Joe was born.