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Irina Palm (2008)


Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 47
Fresh: 32
Rotten: 15

Critics Consensus: A strong performance from Faithfull anchors this perverse and lethargic -- but ultimately thought-provoking -- Garbarski drama.

Average Rating: 6/10
Reviews Counted: 20
Fresh: 13
Rotten: 7

Critics Consensus: A strong performance from Faithfull anchors this perverse and lethargic -- but ultimately thought-provoking -- Garbarski drama.


Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 5,662



Movie Info

A 50-year-old widow is so desperately in need of money that she unwittingly accepts a job in a sex club.

R (for strong sexual content, nudity and language)
Drama , Art House & International , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Philippe Blasband , Sam Garbarski , Martin Herron
In Theaters:
Aug 12, 2008
Strand Releasing - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Irina Palm

All Critics (48) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (32) | Rotten (15) | DVD (5)

A pleasingly sentimental British domestic drama.

Full Review… | June 13, 2008
Toronto Star
Top Critic

takes the notion of risqué empowerment a few preposterous steps further.

Full Review… | June 13, 2008
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Although director and co-writer Sam Garbarski takes great care in tracing this difficult dramatic path (he has to balance the twin tracks of other people's morality and Maggie's personal course), he can't avoid the predictability.

Full Review… | May 16, 2008
Washington Post
Top Critic

This would never have worked with anyone else but Faithfull, who gives a touching performance even as she flaunts her 40-year metamorphosis from porcelain pop diva to elderly bad girl.

Full Review… | May 16, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Irina Palm is saddled with an odd title, an outlandish plot and an unlikely star--notorious rock maven Marianne Faithfull cast as a suburban frump. But it turns out a success

Full Review… | May 15, 2008
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Even if there aren't many other reasons to give this contrived and too often silly film a chance, Faithfull makes a captivating leading lady.

Full Review… | May 2, 2008
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Un drama sensible y austero, no exento de cierto sentido del humor, que deja de lado cualquier aspecto sórdido del asunto para concentrarse en una historia de amor y sacrificio.

Full Review… | December 4, 2008
Uruguay Total

A gobsmackingly awful British film -- awful in the way that somehow only British films can be: our TV drama, of whatever quality, is never as creaky, naive, badly written and flatulent as this.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008

Engaging, enjoyable and quietly thought-provoking British drama with a refreshingly offbeat script and a great central performance from Marianne Faithfull.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008

Garbarski combines social satire, hand jobs, feminism, and romantic grace to create a tenderhearted tale of found love and female empowerment. And he actually pulls it off, give the guy a hand. On second thought...

Full Review… | July 30, 2008

The performances will keep you watching, and make Irina Palm well worth seeing.

Full Review… | June 13, 2008
Jam! Movies

There's a heartwarming quality that softens the hardcore setting but this does lack an assured, er, hand.

Full Review… | June 13, 2008
Empire Magazine

Irina Palm is a showcase for Faithfull but it never truly allows her to shine.

Full Review… | June 8, 2008

At first blush, it seems like another entry in the saucy-but-safe Brit genre, a la Calendar Girls, Saving Grace or The Full Monty, but it turns out to be both more ambitious and less successful than those diversions.

Full Review… | May 30, 2008

An alleged story of determination and empowerment, about the lengths -- and girths -- a formerly timid dowager will go to in order to save someone's life.

Full Review… | May 14, 2008
Let's Not Listen

The camera is discrete, the characters humane and the mood introspective in director Sam Garbarski's character study of a lonely woman who finds dignity where others might see only degradation.

Full Review… | April 11, 2008
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Far from the exploitation movie that you'd expect from its subject matter, "Irina Palm" is a significant piece of cinematic satire that comes straight from the heart.

Full Review… | April 8, 2008

Audience Reviews for Irina Palm

Irina Palm is a perverse tale of the odd sacrifice of a desperate grandmother for her terminally-ill grandson. Grace amid shame. Genuinely sentimental. Well-delivered.

Jan Marc Macababayao
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer


Indifference British film in the drama story of a retired grandmother who acts to raise the cash in a fashion that surprises everyone, but her for her own terminally ill grandson's health deteriorates. I'm sick of sexual activities what a retired grandmother works for in the 'Sexy World', but I liked sexy strippers the best.

Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

Delightful, infuriating, improbable, laugh out loud funny, and a surprisingly entertaining tale of a woman who finds herself out of her depth and working in the sex trades. Her transformation from a quiet little mouse afraid to ask for a job to a force to be reckoned with is what made the film for this viewer. Maggie (Maryanne Faithfull) is marvelous as the small-town grandmother who becomes a sensation at the club where she works. A competent supporting cast and a certain dark atmosphere contribute to the film's success as a morality tale that is at times laugh out loud funny.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]"Irina Palm" starts with Maggie(Marianne Faithfull) bringing a giant stuffed lion to her grandson Ollie(Corey Burke) in the hospital. After almost all hope has been extinguished, news comes to his parents(Kevin Bishop & Siobhan Hewlett) of a new treatment in Australia that is free of charge but they do not have the money to pay for airfare. Maggie would help but has no money left herself and attempts at getting a loan or a job prove initially fruitless. When she applies for a job as a hostess, she is informed by the manager Miki(Miki Manojlovic) that it is a euphemism for masturbating the male customers through a hole in the wall. Miki, noticing her smooth hands, thinks she has promise. At first shocked, Maggie needs the money which is good too badly and takes the job to be trained by Luisa(Dorka Gryllus).[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"Irina Palm" succeeds in no small measure due to the superb performances by the leads.(I had forgotten how good an actor Miki Manojlovic really is.) Otherwise, the movie starts awfully and has its share of awkward moments but due to a general avoidance of genre cliches and the provocativness of the material, it becomes something quite sublime, even while never forgetting that there is a sick child at its heart. Any sentimentality is quashed by concentrating on the life of a sex worker, reinforcing the point made in "Live Nude Girls Unite!" that it is neither exploitation or empowering(a little shows through, though), just boring. Luisa's advice to Maggie is to separate her personal from her professional life. For a second I am not going to do that. Because as strange as it may sound, the men at the hole are seeking a kind of intimacy, fantasizing about someone who is very different from who is really helping them get off, a maternal figure who is embracing them at their most exposed. But what a mother really does is care for her own, no matter what it takes.[/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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