Irina Palm (2007)
Maggie, a 60-year-old widow, desperately needs some money to pay for a medical treatment for her ill grandson, Olly. After one attempt at trying to find a job, she 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. Her colleague, Luisa, shows her how to give a hand-job through hole in a wall (glory hole) and after the first hesitation, she quickly develops good skills. She uses Irina Palm as her stage name. However, she keeps her work secret from friends and family, which leads to uncomfortable situations. She, who applies herself in order to keep her job, fascinates Mickey.
- Maggie (Marianne Faithfull) is a meek elderly woman who became a widow some years ago. Her main problem now is her ill grandson Ollie (Corey Burke), who is getting worse and worse in hospital. His last opportunity is a state-of-the-art treatment in Sidney, Australia. The treatment in itself is free, but the family of Ollie needs to pay for the travel and their maintenance there. A lot of money is required for that: the pressure is increased because Ollie has only got six weeks. Afterwards, he'll be too weak to stand the long trip. However, the family hasn't got any of that money, and Maggie has already sold her home to pay her bills.
Her son Tom (Kevin Bishop) and her daughter-in-law Sarah (Siobhan Hewlett) are desperate as well. There is no way they can earn all that money that fast. Maggie asks for a bank credit, but the clerk (Doraly Rosen) can't accept her application, as she has no job, no way to refund it and no home to give as a collateral.
Maggie looks for a job. On the window of a Soho pub in London called Sexy World she can read a notice looking for a "hostess". She enters and asks for the job. The owner, Miki (Miki Manojlovic) tells him that "hostess" is a euphemism for a person who gives hand-jobs. Miki looks at Maggie's hands: they are soft, and could be used for that purpose. At first, Maggie is distraught and can't think of herself doing that, but she is panicky because time is running out for Ollie.
Luisa (Dorka Gryllus) is a migrant who has been working at Sexy World for a time. Giving hand-jobs have been her task, she has experience and earns good money. She is responsible for teaching Maggie how to do a handjob through a glory hole. At first, Maggie is terrified and feels disgust at herself. She thinks she won't be able to do it. But after a couple of times, she gets used to it. The men put their dicks through the glory hole and she gives them a handjob. They can't touch her and she can't see them.
The first week she only earns 200 pounds. She needs to earn more money, so next week she works more hours. Next week she earns 600 pounds, and is starting to get used to the job. Miki offers him to work many more hours, and invents a name for her, Irina Palm, - Irina like his first love, Palm because of the kind of sexual service she offers. With a name, he will be able to ask for more money on her behalf. But even that it's not enough for Maggie. Maggie asks for 6,000 pounds in advance, and makes a plan with Miki to turn everything back in only eight weeks. Miki threatens to kill her if she betrays him.
The queue outside Maggie/Irina's box grows and grows. Maggie doesn't tell anyone what she's doing. She tells Ollie that it'll be her special secret. When Maggie offers the money to Tom, Tom and Sarah starts wondering and worrying about where she got that money from. They even ask Ollie, but he doesn't know it either. Maggie tells them not to worry. Her friends, Julia (Meg Wynn Owen), Beth (Susan Hitch) and Edith (Flip Webster) also wonder that she's been able to find a job in spite of her lack of qualifications or work experience. They complain because she doesn't talk to them anymore, and they gossip about her, but Maggie is never available anymore. Little by little, Luisa and Maggie become friends. Luisa has a child as well. She recommends Maggie to separate life and work.
Maggie hurts her elbow because of her work. Miki pays a doctor (Jules Werner) to take care of her. Her arm has got to be put onto a slinge, but Maggie works with her left hand. Tom is worried that she's been hurt by somebody related with that mysterious job of hers, but she says that she hurt herself while cleaning and tidying up her home. Tom and Sarah look to have problems of their own, their marriage is not going well, and Sarah asks home to leave hom. Tom goes back to mom (Maggie)'s home.
Luisa is fired. No man wants to go to her cabin slot. Everybody wants Irina Palm. Maggie tries to convince Miki, but he says that everything is just business, and Luisa is of no use to him anymore. Maggie calls on Luisa's home, but Luisa is frustrated, because even if she finds another job, it won't pay as well as the one she had at that pub, and telling her off, she slams the door in front of Maggie, who feels guilty. Maggie and Miki became a kind of friends. He talks about his old love, and finally Maggie tells him of her reasons to accept the job. Miki wants to become rich and have a golden retreat in Spain.
Irina Palm's fame growns on, so Dave (Jonathan Coyne), the owner of a nearby rival pub offers much more money to Maggie. Maggie tells Miki. However, Maggie feels devastated because she only means money to Miki. In spite of it all, she doesn't want to work for Dave, as her job is only temporal. That night, Irina arrives home really late, which worries Tom a lot.
The first opportunity he's got, Tom follows Maggie. In shock, he enters Sexy World after her. Once inside, he sees the queue and looks at her own mother eye to eye. Tom leaves running, and Maggie goes after her. Jane (Jane Agutter), one of the waitresses/secretary of Miki, makes gestures for him to know that Maggie has left.
Tom and Maggie have a big row. He threatens with forbidding her to see Ollie. Tom doesn't want the money and she forces Maggie to call Miki and shouts to him on the phone. Sarah tries to reason with him, saying that they won't be able to pay the money back. However, it looks as though Miki will let Maggie leave without fulfilling her promise of paying everything back. Sarah knows that now she understands what "doing anything for a child of yours" really means. Sarah, who had never gotten on well with Maggie, now supports her, and tries to make peace between Maggie and Tom.
Finally, Maggie is fed up about the situation, and she tells two of her friends what she really does. The rumours spread fast and wildly, and the next time that Maggie goes shopping to the local convenience store, some old ladies snigger at her. She tells the worst of them that she knows that her late husband Trevor confessed to her that they had been having an affair for quite time before he died. She denies it, but when Maggie explains the affair with more detail, she is the one who leaves with a broken pride.
Tom starts to forgive Maggie. He even offers her to go with them to Australia. The time to go to Australia arrives, but Maggie refuses when Ollie is already in the ambulance. She says that they deserve to spend that experience together as a family, and that she'll wait for Ollie home.
It happens like that.
Maggies goes to the club and hugs Miki.