Lady in the Van – Film Review

I still have mixed feelings about this film as it isn’t one I would normally go and see however this film did make me smile and laugh as well as fall in love with its characters.

The Lady in the Van was a film about Miss Shepherd a homeless woman who lives in a van and travels around the streets of London. It is until one day London playwright Alan Bennett develops an unlikely friendship with her and let’s her stay in his driveway for 15 years!

I found this story very enjoyable and intruding to hear the story not only behind the Lady in the Van but Alan Bennett himself.

Maggie Smith plays the wonderful Miss Shepherd who doesn’t fail to make an audience laugh. She makes Miss Shepherd both someone you find rude and annoying, while also making her someone you can’t help but have an affection for. Even when she’s painting a beaten up van yellow with a toilet brush she shines and gives a spectacular performance. Whilst playing this bright and eccentric character, Smith also subtly begins to show she is just a scared and broken woman – the transition is brilliant.

Reprising the role of Alan Bennett is the brilliant Alex Jennings. Being late to the film, we missed the explanation of the two Alan’s but finally by the end of the film I understood! This I found different but fascinating as one played the role of his daily life, socially awkward and shy and the other Alan was the writer. I really enjoyed the conversation between them as I found their bickering childish yet humorous.

My only criticism is the ending as for me it was very unexpected and overly dramatic. I understand it was done to create humour but I just thought it was a bit bizarre and over the top! However apart from that I liked the film especially the scene when Bennett pushed Miss Shepherd down the street in her wheelchair!

Overall, I give this film 4/5 stars so, if you are looking for a film that will make you laugh, shed a tear and remember the capacity we have for kindness towards each other, then Lady in the Van is the perfect film for you!

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