Theology at the Movies


The Full Monty

Okay, it’s perhaps a stretch, but one of the sweetest cinema moments of marital loyalty is found in this hugely successful 1997 indy British film. Six desperate men, all unemployed steel workers, see ladies, including their own wives, packing a local dance hall for a Chippendale’s show. They hatch a scheme to do their own offbeat strip show. (I know it sounds crude, but this film is not prurient.)

Dave (Mark Eddy) is a lumbering, overweight guy afraid to tell his patient wife Jean (Lesley Sharp) about such a fool’s mission. Their marriage is struggling, even though she’s eternally loyal to him, even in the boudoir. (“Come here, big guy.”) The crisis moment comes when she suspects he’s cheating on her. Stumbling awkwardly, he tries to explain the scheme.

“Me and Gaz, see, we thought we could make a bob or two takin’ our clothes off.”

Incredulous, she digests this. “You. And Gaz. Strippers?”

“We weren’t that bad,” he says rather lamely. But then he looks down at his lumpy frame and extra eighty pounds. “Only, I couldn’t, could I?”

His wife edges closer to him. “Why not?”

“Well, look at me.”


He can barely murmur, through his embarrassment: “Jeanie, who wants to see this dance?”

There’s this poignant moment of shared memories and scarce triumphs, and we sense this plain girl’s years of faithful support, of looking to see the finest in a struggling, mortal man. At last she says, in a voice that brings tears to your eyes: “Me, Dave. I do.”