The Birth of Valerie Venus is a clever British comedic short film about Valerie (Jane Guernier), the wife of a vicar (Paul Hunter). She evolves from servitude to attitude with a little help from the Virgin Mary. Director and writer Sarah Clift packs enormous comedy, acting, and appeal all in just 15 minutes. Its metaphoric title offers a great deal to the imagination, and perhaps, the filmmaker was channeling Botticelli when she birthed this gem of a short film.
In only her third movie, Clift captures the best of English humor and the work of the devoted through her portrayal of Valerie in her simple everyday tasks. Only, she takes the mundane work routine to a new level when Valerie’s hand becomes possessed from a cut on the Virgin Mary statue she received while dusting it, releasing a new-found woman’s spirit. The struggle for Valerie to ignore her hand’s directive is well played by Guernier, who is a recognizable British television actress. Her timing and theatrics are spot on.
“…Valerie’s hand becomes possessed from a cut…”
In addition, Valerie’s husband, the vicar Norman, played by Paul Hunter, is as equally receptive in his humorous responses and reactions to what he sees as bizarre behavior. With great writing and actors who adore their roles, Valerie’s repressed nature is presented without losing one beat of comedy, whether it’s applying lipstick or dumping pizza on the dining room table.
Adding even more rich entertainment to The Birth of Valerie Venus are the inventive actions Clift presents to playout Valerie’s rebirth through her household duties and chores with the addition of creating a sex scene from chopping fruit where neither human appears. All of this and more, including squishing eggs, is part of the preparation for a golf tea planned by the vicar for his men. As Valerie sheds her role as the dutiful wife and becomes a spirited and independent thinker, she finds joy in taking care of herself. In rebellion, Valerie manages to follow her new mindful will as the vicar continues in his oblivious state of existence.
"…inventive actions...playout Valerie’s rebirth through her household duties..."