Mrs Caldicot’s Cabbage War

Film Icon This lovely British movie was this weekend’s DVD viewing choice.

Starring the ever fantastic Pauline Collins as Thelma Caldicot, it is full of wonderful actors of that certain age, including her husband John Alderton.

The plotline is very much Shirley Valentine gown older. Thelma is a bullied and much-put-upon wife, who finally one day is widowed through her husband’s own folly.

She feels free to systematically destroy or give away his prized possessions in a thumbing-her-nose-at-him and spirit-realeasing sort of way. You can just see the pent up years of frustration being gently and firmly expressed.
Unfortunately this release of her spirits gives her greedy daughter-in-law and son the opportunity to prematurely put her into a nursing home, where the inmates are kept drugged and docile.

The experience of seeing the cold-hearted, minimal treatment of the resthome management ensures that the earlier release of her individuality continues and she becomes “the worm that turned”.

The film is lovely, yet it does stab at the heart. Are our older citizens treated like this? Drugged and docile, so the resthome owners can make a profit. Do families routinely ‘dump’ their older relatives into someone else’s care, so that they are not inconvenienced?
It also seems to ask – who is to decide when a person’s ability to gain joy and happiness in life is over? Convenience over quality of life? Cabbage every day over a fry-up?

This film does have a message, there is no doubt about that, but don’t let it put you off. It is still funny and lovely and thoughtful. Your heart might be a little sore in places, but in the end you will have laughed and enjoyed the worm-turning journey with Thelma.

My rating: 3 out of 5

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