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Genres: Drama
Actors: Marianne Faithfull , Miki Manojlovic , Kevin Bishop , Siobhan Hewlett , Dorka Gryllus , Jenny Agutter , Corey Burke , Meg Wynn Owen , Susan Hitch , Flip Webster , Tony O’Brien , Jules Werner , Ann Queensberry , June Bailey , Jonny Coyne
Director: Sam Garbarski
Country: Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, France
Year: 2007
IMDB Rating: 7.1/10 (5070 votes)

Maggie, a 50-year-old widow, desperately needs some money to pay for a medical treatment for her ill grandson. After one attempt at trying to find a job, Maggie finds herself roaming the streets of London Soho. Her eye is caught by a small poster in the window of a ‘shop’ called “Sexy World” which reads: “Hostess wanted”. Too desperate and lost to realize what she does she enters. Micky, the owner, is embarrassed at first, but intrigued by Maggie, he decides to have fun and offers her the job. Maggie courageously gets to know her first anonymous customers, eventually using Irina Palm as her stage name. Maggie, who applies herself in order to keep her job, fascinates Mickey.

Film Review

Desperate to earn money so her critically ill grandson can have a much-needed operation, a modest and reserved middle-aged widow finds a job "pleasuring" men through a hole in the wall of a sleazy London strip joint. Before you know it, Maggie is doing quite the little business (years of not doing manual labor have apparently paid off), with a steady stream of satisfied customers queuing up outside her cubicle, and a boss more than satisfied with the money she's bringing in. She's even adopted a stage name, Irina Palm, renowned for having the "smoothest" hand in the business. But hiding the truth from her son and daughter-in-law and her snooty, gossipy friends becomes a daily challenge for Maggie as she debases herself for a noble cause.Despite its rather – um, shall we say "touchy" subject matter – "Irina Palm" is a warm human drama about a woman willing to go to any lengths to help a person she loves. But that's only the glass-h…

What stayed with me after seeing this film was a woman who did what she had to do to save her beloved grandchild, but, also, a woman who did her best to fulfill an obligation, both in the quality of her work and not betraying the business interests of a man who gave her the money she needed on the strength of her word alone that she would repay it.The reaction of her son upon discovering what his mother was doing to earn the needed money might have seemed over the top until you consider that it was not only the shock of his mother being involved in the sordid sex worker trade, but also how it illustrated his own impotence at being unable to come up with a way to get the money needed to save his child.I was hoping from the very beginning that this woman would find a way to redeem herself and her grandson, but I must say I was won over by her quiet determination, her loyalty and her dignity in a situation which by the standards of the world would seem to deny her any right to her dignit…

It seems Belgian director Sam Garbarski didn't set out to make an English movie (the script was originally written by Phillipe Blasband in French) but even with a diverse cast and continental locations he has produced one. Marianne Faithful's performance as the slightly out of it middle aged widow who becomes a hand job operative in a Soho sex shop to earn money for her sick grandson's operation is wonderfully judged. She has to do this in secret, of course, under the nom de hand "Irina Palm" for this is England and she would suffer terminal embarrassment were her family or friends to find out what she is up to. In France, on the other hand, it might not matter so much.Despite the sordid nature of "Irina's" fund raising efforts, this is a comedy-drama, not soft porn and the exposition is tastefully done – no graphic images are employed. The other main performances fit the fairly gentle tone, even the veteran Serbian actor Miki Manjlovic as the …