San Diego Film Festival 2012 — Best Little Whorehouse in Rochdale

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Biffa Productions

MPAA Rating: N/A

Director: Ian Vernon

Review Rating: 7

Website: Best Little Whorehouse in Rochdale

Warning! Spoiler Review!

What do a quartet of plucky Englishwomen do when their leaders husband dies, the job disappears and the repo men are knocking at the door? Start a legal brothel of course, a place where your fantasies can come true – to a point.

It’s everything you might expect from the title, but it does help to be a fan of the BBC, to fully enjoy the mannerisms of the main female leads. Jeni Howarth Williams is the leader of the gang, Joan, who starts the whole ball rolling when she agrees to try phone sex to liven up her sagging sex life with her flaccid husband. Turns out, she’s apparently good at it. Then of course the husband just has to up and die soon after, and the job as a charwoman (that’s English chore woman to you) rapidly deteriorates when the sleazeball boss begins demanding nookie for work. All the charwomen decide to band together, Enid and her prim cursing like a sailor, Mavis and her backbreaking shimmy and ready smile, and naïve would-be lawyer and former lap dancer Sharon, to join Joan in her radical idea of a brothel without sex. Mentored by a former brothel worker, the ladies find confidence and even pride in their work, spliced in with a healthy dose of laughter, until the coppers begin watching the house and a thug shows up to demand a cut of their profits. What follows that funnery is a series of events that lead to independence, a chance at new romance, and a fine healthy dose of laugh-at-yourself-at-least frivolity.

I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, despite a few minor issues with sound and lighting. Those wacky Brits are known for being we’ll say, prim-lipped, so it was wonderful to see them let down their hair and see the beautiful humor in what they’re doing. Every woman had something to offer no matter her age, social standing, or former employment. Every woman finds fulfillment in some way – Enid makes those boys pay in ways they never could imagine; Mavis finds kinky adorable romance; Sharon finds confidence in what she’s good at; and even Joan finds unexpected fulfillment. And despite being filmed in the U.K. and starring British actors, the movie deals with concepts that are universally human and funny.

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