Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Lady in the Van: Film Review

Release date: December 4, 2015.
Maggie Smith--yet again--gives a stellar performance.

This time, Smith plays Mary Shepherd, the titular character in the 2015 film The Lady in the Van.

This film is based on real events experienced by author, playwright, screenwriter Alan Bennett. Readers are probably most familiar with his work as a screenwriter on The Madness of King George (1994), based on his play.

Bennett first knew Shepherd in the late 1960s as a vagrant who would park her broken down van on the streets of his neighborhood in Camden (outside of London).

Bennett's character is played by Alex Jennings, and the film is shot on the same street and the same house where the events took place.

In order to prevent her van from being towed, he let her park in his driveway.

She stayed for 15 years.

Over those many years, Bennett and Shepherd have an uneasy relationships. She is moody and irrational. She's not clean. She exhibits signs of paranoia. She's bossy and argumentative.  Nevertheless, Bennett ends up helping her in significant ways. However, he protests that he does so not out of kindness but because he's timid.