Latest Reviews$hide=home$type=three$meta=0$snippet=0$readmore=0$cate=1$count=3

$show=/search/label/Podcast

The Lady In The Van Review

SHARE:

Based on Alan Bennett’s successful memoir, which he also turned into a stage play, the film version of The Lady In The Van has driven its dilapidated yellow van into the driveway of your local cinema and like its tenant it may not be the type of film you were looking for but its humour, wit and heart will take you along for the ride.

Maggie Smith is astoundingly good here. Reprising her role from the stage, she is truly magnificent as Miss Shepherd, the homeless woman with a dark past that finds herself living in the back of her little van on a well-to-do street in Camden in the 1970’s. Based on a “mostly true story”, Bennett did indeed allow ‘the lady in the van’ to park and essentially live in the driveway of his home in what was to be a temporary fix and ended up being 15 years.


Directed by Nicholas Hytner who previously collaborated with Bennett on The Madness of King George and The History Boys, the films origins of the stage are quite obvious with most of the action taking place in and around Bennett’s house and garden. There are funny quirks to it. Bennett’s bewildered writer (here played by Alex Jennings) is split from the more straight thinking half of him, so that we get two versions of him when he’s at home, like twins. It’s a nice device that helps us to see his anguish and thought process when it comes to his dilemma over Miss Shepherd. He also narrates the story, peppering it with witty insights like the sound of the handbrake being pulled the day she parked her van in his drive “like Excalibur” never to be raised again.  

Amid the comedy though is a dark streak on the cruelty of life. It doesn’t shy away from the loss of dignity homeless people face, right down to their daily bodily functions and lack of clean water and also highlights that it can only take one bad event to happen in a person’s life to see them homeless. The film also addresses the care of the elderly and the irony is not lost on Bennett that he would allow Miss Shepherd to live in his drive but not invite his own mother to live with him, even when she’s infirm.

As a two-hander Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings are perfectly pitched against each other. Smith’s initially cantankerous, rude old lady really gets to you as her vulnerabilities surface and you can’t help but feel for her, conducting herself as she does with a “vagabond nobility”. She is a social outcast and so too is Bennett, hiding his homosexuality under cover of darkness for fear of discovery.

While The Lady In The Van is very enjoyable, there is though a feeling of Sunday night drama about it that perhaps would see it sit well on TV and a scene at the end stretches the narration device just a little too far. It’s a perfectly nice, entertaining way to spend an afternoon, it just feels perhaps a little small compared to the usual cinema fare.


 


COMMENTS

Latest News$hide=index$type=three$count=6$meta=0$snippet=0$readmore=0$cate=0

Name

* ** *** **** ***** 2011 2012 2013 2014 About Advertise Asgard Week Audio August 2015 Avatar Avengers 2 Awards BAFTA behind the screens Black Friday Deals 2012 Box Office BTTF Bullet to the Head Buried Cannes 2012 Cloud Atlas comic con 2011 comic con 2012 Comic Con 2013 Comic Con 2014 Comic Con 2015 Comic-Con 2016 COMING SOON competitions Desolation of Smaug disney Django Unchained Editorial FC Feature fifty best movies Flipboard Magazine Frankenweenie. Gambit Godzilla Guardians Of The Galaxy Hell or High Water Highlander In Defence Of.. Interviews Ireland Iron Man 3 Jack Reacher Kick-Ass 2 Legend of the Guardians Les Miserables Libya Little Fockers Machete Man Of Steel marvel May The Fourth 2015 Monday Movie Meme Movie Bit Special Movie Of The Year 2011 Movie Of The Year 2012 Movie Of The Year 2013 Movie Reviews Netflix new New Clip New Release News Oldboy Pacific Rim podacast Podcast podcast comp Polls Posters privacy Prometheus Review Archive Review of 2013 RIP Scott Pilgrim Vs The World SFC Shelf Life Skyfall Skyline sony Star Trek 2 Star Trek Into Darkness star wars Star Wars Episode VII Star Wars Episode VIII Streaming Super Bowl Spot 2014 Superbowl 2012 Commercials Superbowl 2013 Superbowl 50 The Amazing Spiderman The Avengers The Avengers 2 The Backseat The Croods The Dark Knight Rises The Hobbit The Hobbit 2 The Last Exorcism The Next 3 Days the week in movies in case you missed it The Woman in Black The World's End Tim Heatherington TMB Special Toy Story 3 Trailer Trailers Transfomers 4 TRIVIA TW Twilight Day ultimate trivia VB Video Video Special Videos Wayne Week X-Men:First Class X-Men:First Class 2 Year in Review 2009 Year in Review 2010
false
ltr
item
The Movie Bit: The Lady In The Van Review
The Lady In The Van Review
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-e3edEo1DWpo/VkRcfO0g1BI/AAAAAAAAAbg/mMwRrW44D_M/s1600/2The%2BLady%2BIn%2BThe%2BVan%2B-%2BFirst%2BOfficial%2BImage.png
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-e3edEo1DWpo/VkRcfO0g1BI/AAAAAAAAAbg/mMwRrW44D_M/s72-c/2The%2BLady%2BIn%2BThe%2BVan%2B-%2BFirst%2BOfficial%2BImage.png
The Movie Bit
http://www.themoviebit.com/2015/11/the-lady-in-van-review.html
http://www.themoviebit.com/
http://www.themoviebit.com/
http://www.themoviebit.com/2015/11/the-lady-in-van-review.html
true
1558767935376976688
UTF-8
Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS CONTENT IS PREMIUM Please share to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy