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:: Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage War

Thelma Caldicot is fed up with her life. Having served and waited on her husband hand and foot for 30 odd years she sees his death as her chance to start living her life for herself. Angered about the discovery of his infidelity she sets out to destroy every last vestige of him that meant anything. Poisoning his prized carnations, cutting off the heads of his beloved golf clubs and handing out his vintage merlot with the daily milk bottles to the neighbours. Turning up at her husbands’ funeral in a sexy red dress is the last straw, which sees Thelma packed up and shipped off to a nursing home by her selfishly greedy son and daughter-in-law.

Thelma bears witness to the home’s cruel mistreatment toward her and her colleagues. Tired of being drugged up to be kept calm and docile whilst eating cabbage for every meal, Thelma leads a revolt that forces senior citizens in bad nursing homes everywhere to stand up and fight for their rights to be treated humanely.

During these “cabbage wars” Thelma realises the real evil that she is fighting is her son and set out to expose him and the nursing home to the media everywhere whilst in the process finding love and romance again and proving that it never too late to take a stand.

Played by award winning actress Pauline Collins, she gives Thelma the strength and courage to convincingly flesh out her character in the latter part of the film, however her portrayal as the weak and subservient Thelma isn’t as convincing. It is only when Thelma comes into herself that Collins’ performs to her fuller potential. The characterisations of the “evil” players in this war lack emotion and seem far too caricatured and one dimensional to be taken seriously, especially her son and daughter-in-law who reveal themselves to be far more evil than even the evil general manager of the nursing home. How a son ruthlessly and maliciously ships his mother off to a nursing home and keeps her there against her will for his financial gain is beyond any rational comprehension. The elder actors were a pleasure to watch, although at times it was as if the flat and lacklustre attempts at humour in the script often let them down rather than their performances. It was quite refreshing to see a story focussed on seniors although the major problems with this film lies within its miscalculated and often jumbled story.

Based on the Vernon Coleman book and adapted by Malcolm Stone, Mrs. Caldicot’s Cabbage War may have been a better idea on paper than in reality. Considering the fact that director Ian Sharp has an extensive career in television, it seems as if the subject matter and target audience would much be suited as a made for television movie of the week.