This is an interesting practical reading and speaking lesson about Shirley Valentine.

Shirley Valentine is a fictional character created in a book and later turned into both a London West End Play and a major film starring Julie Walters.

Try to answer the questions about the lesson at the end.

This is the narrative of the lesson:


Shirley Valentine was a woman of forty-two from Liverpool England.

One summer, she went on holiday to Greece with a friend, Jane.

They stayed in a hotel near the beach.

The manager of this hotel was a man called Costas.

Shirley went to the hotel bar one evening and started talking to Costas.

After a while, he said, ‘Would you like to go for a ride in my brother’s boat tomorrow?’

She thought he was nice, so she went with him the next day.

Shirley enjoyed the boat trip very much.

So much so, she went out with him every day.

They swam, sunbathed and visited the sights of Greece.

At the end of her holiday, Shirley went to the airport to fly home.

When she thought of Liverpool, she decided not to go home at all.

She ran out of the airport and went back to the hotel where she had been staying.

Shirley saw Costas in the bar with a woman.

She heard him say, ‘Would you like to go for a ride in my brother’s boat tomorrow’

When Costas saw Shirley, he was shocked and speechless.

Shirley just smiled and asked him for a job in his hotel.

She wasn’t in love with Costas but she was in love with Greece.


  1. Who was the woman?


  1. Where did she go on holiday?


  1. Where did they stay?


  1. Who was the man?


  1. Where did the woman meet the man?


  1. What did the man say to the woman?


  1. Where did they go together and what did they do?


  1. At the end of the holiday, what did the woman decide to do?


  1. What happened next?


  1. How did it end?






This is a short narrative for elementary school students to practice their English.
It is intended for writing, reading and speaking.
Here we go!

Let’s tell the story of Inside Out.
It’s an amazing computer-animation film from Disney.
It’s such a wonderful and awesome film.
The story is set inside the mind of a young girl called Riley.
She is eleven years old and lives in America.
She has many memories about her childhood.
Those memories come in several categories which are Family, Friends, Honesty and Hockey.
Riley loves playing Hockey very much in her city of Minnesota.
Bing Bong, half-dolphin, half-elephant, is her special imaginary friend.
One day, her whole world is turned upside-down and inside-out.
She must move far away with her parents from Minnesota to San Francisco.
San Francisco is a very different place from Minnesota.
They don’t play Hockey there and they even eat Broccoli Pizza. Yuck!
Riley is very sad and confused at her new home and school.
She thinks about running away by bus back to Minnesota.
Her life is guided by five emotions who become important characters in the story.
The five emotions are Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust.
The truth is, Riley is growing up fast and her life is changing.
She even forgets about Bing Bong and he gets sent to the Memory Dump.
Oh dear! How sad is that!
She must adjust to her new life sooner rather than later.
New Personality Islands are formed in her life.
Bing Bong is replaced with Boy Bands.
Then there is Romance and Fashion to help make her life better.
Riley is happy once again.
Riley is now twelve years old and a new phase in her life is beginning.
What a great and enjoyable film!
I loved the storyline and the characters very much indeed.
Thank you for listening to my short presentation about Inside Out.

The five emotions of Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and disgust are common emotions for both children and adults to experience in life.
I have used two expressions to describe the confusion of Riley inside her mind. First, the title of the film called ‘Inside Out’. Second, ‘upside down’ because she is unhappy moving to a strange and different city. Her life becomes unbalanced.
Riley is eleven years old and in the film she crosses the ‘puberty stage’ by becoming a woman at twelve.
Puberty can perhaps explain why she does not need Bing Bong anymore in her life as she grows up and Boyband music, pre-teen romance and fashion become a feature of her life.
Memories are stored in Headquarters. The Core memories, the important ones, are kept but others fade away and are forgotten.
Bing Bong becomes one of her forgotten memories. Memory Dump means the rubbish area for memories she does not need or want to keep.
Personality Islands give stability in her life. Obviously, Family Friendship and Honesty are very important. New Personality Islands develop as she grows up.

French Movies and Anything French on the Silver Screen

Is it just me or is there special and unique feel about French movies which makes them irresistable?

My favourite French movie of recent years is ‘Priceless’ sometimes called by the French title of ‘Hors de Prix’ and stars my favourite actress Audrey Tautou.  This is an absolutely scintillating movie and I know it may have been based on an American version earlier but this movie is just so funny and the acting amazing.  I also became attached with Audrey Tautou’s co-actor in the movie, Gad Elmaleh who took the leading role in another hugely funny comedy called ‘The Valet’.  I do like comedy films which make me laugh.  Sadly, most many comedies are anything but funny.

The Oscars of 2012 have just elapsed and Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’, although nominated for best picture, picked up a deserved award for original Screenplay. (Actually, Gad Elmaleh was the end star in this movie) but his role was only cameo.  I am a romanticist and I love Paris and I love even more any movie about Paris.  ‘Midnight in Paris’ is a bit like going to a nice restaurant and being given a quality bottle of FRENCH red plonk.  It was a delicious, delightful film and I watched it three times on consecutive nights.

‘Hugo’, another Oscar winner, was also set in Paris at a railway station and there was another 2011 movie which was sensitive and touching about life in Paris, quite simply called ‘Paris’.  There was a recent movie called ‘Paris I Love You” but it was not in the French language and it just did not grab me.

Audrey Tautou takes me back to ‘Terms of Engagement’ and her stunning acting with Gerard Depardieu, whose versatility never fails to amaze me, but who can ever forget her innovative acting and Oscar star role in Amelie in the early 2001?  Of course, Audrey Tautou also starred with Tom Hanks in ‘Da Vinci Code’ and that was predominantly filmed in Paris, but again, it is an American movie rather than a French movie in France in the French language.

I recently saw Henry IV of Navarre and watched it a couple of times.  I like history stuff and Henry IV is an interesting character, no less so his wife Marguerite de Valois who may well have the cause of infatuation and proposal of Englishman Francis Bacon in his younger years.  It is a bit raunchy but hey, this is sixteenth century France, though I know Navarre was not officially part of France then, as Shakespeare reminded us in ‘Love Labours Lost’

Films like ‘Babine’ cannot be overlooked for their entertainment value and originality.  Perhaps the most sexual movie of French connection was ‘Perfume – Diary of a Murderer’ which I absolutely loved, but the ending was incredibly sexotic!

On a lower key level, many of our Disney favourites such as Hunchback of Notre Dame, Beauty and the Beast, Arisocats and Three Muskateers all have a connection with Paris in some shape or form and I am still waiting for a Director to come up with a Napoleon remake.  Napoleon, I must confess, was my favourite General in world History.

Living in Indonesia, I have to look long and hard among the DVD copies for sale to find the French movies which are French movies at all and worth watching.

Who can forget ‘Belle de Jour’!

This turned out to be an impulsive post and I shall edit it further when I have thought of other French movies which I have enjoyed watching and forgotten to mention, which I surely have.



The Oscar Results 2012

Well it is over for another year for the Oscar results of 2012.  I have been able to watch most of the movies which were in all the main categories and I should like to pass comment and reaction on the results generally.

The two films which I have not yet seen and which won notable Oscar awards are ‘A Separation’ for best Foreign language Film from Iran and the ‘Man or Muppet’ song from the ‘Muppets’ movie.  I guess everybody is trying to download the song to know what it is.  For the cost of fifty English pence here in Indonesia, I shall  be able to buy the DVD at my local store.  As for ‘A Separation”, this is going to prove tougher to track down as it is not a movie, it seems, well know or in general cinematic circulation, so it is not likely to be popular on DVD.

‘Hugo’ and ‘The Artist’ are both deserved winners in the ten categories which they shared between them.  I have watched both movies twice and I have thoroughly enjoyed them one very occasion.  They represent a certain sentimentality about this years Oscar reward with both winning films relating to the cinema back in the past at the beginning of the twentieth century, although, they are, of course, telling two completely different stories.

I have a personal love of any French connected film and I was disappointed that ‘Ao” was not nominated with best Foreign language category.  Given the tough competition in that category and the unusual nature of the film, I am not actually surprised at its non nomination.

My biggest disappointment, with the exception of ‘Anonymous’, which I will come to in a moment, was the failure of Glenn Close to win as best actress for ‘Albert Nobbs’.  Again, I am not surprised because Meryl Streep gave a strong, if I may I say, a slightly overplayed Margaret Thatcher in ‘The Iron Lady’.  As I said, sentimentality was evident in many of the Oscar winners.

This was also so for Christopher Plummer who had quite a year it seems, revelling in his role as an elderly gay man in ‘Beginners’ while also having a lead role in ‘Girl with a Dragon Tattoo’.

‘Moneyball’ deserved its Oscar nomination for best picture and this is another film which I watched more than once.  This is the movie which introduced me to the Australian singer ‘Lenka’ with the child in the movie playing as Brad Pitts daughter singing the catchy song ‘Enjoy the Show”.  I am still none the wiser about the rules of Baseball, but I did enjoy the movie.

Personally, I have nothing against George Clooney who, through my eyes at least, would make an ideal Presidential candidate as represented in ‘Ides of March’, not nominated, though his other movie, ‘The Descendants’, oddly was.  I failed to see what was so great about ‘The Descendants’ and I had to wonder whether George Clooney has a family heritage connected with Hawaii.

Anonymous apart, my favourite nominated movie has to be ‘Midnight in Paris’.  I put a delay on watching this movie for no logical reason but when I did settle down to watch it, I absolutely loved it, though that is not to say I am a fan of Owen Wilson.  Woody Allen does not make a bad movie, just remember ‘Match Point” and ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ as examples as Mr Allen looks to set his movies in different European cities.

I have not mentioned Octavia Spencer and ‘The Help’, an enjoyable if a little heavy film and a little if I may like ‘Precious” which made me not want to watch it a second time.  It is however a splendid movie and the young lady deserves her Oscar for best supporting actress.

Now I want to come to ‘Anonymous’.  This is my favourite film of 2012 and those of you who are following me on my Shakespeare Blog, will understand why.  I had been waiting for this movie for a long time and when it came, finally, I was not disappointed.  I was, however, disappointed that it performed so badly at the box office and appears to be one of the most misunderstood and underrated films of recent years.  I had expected the film for several Oscar nominations and not just one category, Costume Design, which it only had a moderate chance of winning.

There are still films in circulation and due to release which did not make the Oscar nominations for 2012.

There is another movie I want to mention which was Oscar nominated and won nothing.  ‘Bridesmaids’.  A terrific movie, unexpectedly so in my book, strong story.  The same could be said of the Nick Nolte film ‘Warrior’ which I finally convinced myself to watch last night (sacrificed the first half of Arsenal v Tottenham EPL).

I shall be watching ‘Iron Lady’ again in the next few days, there are some great quotes in this movie.  Watch out for them, write them and use them in class.  It is more as much a ‘Maggie and Dennis’ love story as it is a Political drama.  Best watched on DVD though, the slow pace of the movie might make you sleepy in the cinema.

Right, I have got all this off my chest.  I might just be getting the hang of Blogging.  A trip to my local DVD Store is lined up.  I am pretty much out of movies to watch.  Help!