The Lady in the Van (2015)

Director: Nicholas Hytner

Writer: Alan Bennett (Screenplay)

Starring: Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Jim Broadbent, Francis De La Tour, Rufus Allam, Dominic Cooper

 

Plot: A man forms an unexpected bond with a transient woman living in her van that’s parked in his driveway.


Tagline – A mostly true story

Runtime: 1 Hour 44 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Solid Comedy Drama

 

Story: The Lady in the Van starts as we meet Miss Shepherd (Smith) who lives in her van on a residential street in Camden, London. When Alan Bennett (Jennings) moves in to one of the houses, she sees how the residents accept her in places but he tries to be kind and friendly towards her.

When Miss Shepherd is about to need to find a new place to stay, Alan offers her a place in his drive way where he continues to learn more about her and her past where the mysterious Underwood (Broadbent) turns up as the two go through the ups and downs of a relationship.

 

Thoughts on The Lady in the Van

 

Characters – Miss Shepherd is the elderly woman who lives in her van, she is welcome in some places but in others she doesn’t get on with. She believes she knows the world which we are led to believe is being true. Alan Bennett is the playwriter that offers her a chance to live on his drive way and over time they build a strange relationship as he reflects his relationship with her to his own mother.

PerformancesMaggie Smith is fantastic in the role showing the vulnerable side the character has even though she is stronger than believed. Alex Jennings is great too, as he is telling us the story through his character.

StoryThe story shows how Alan opened his door to Miss Shepherd willing to listen to her stories that could easily be considered fake but as the time unfolds he learns the truth behind them. The story gives us a chance to see how we would react to a homeless person that has been left forgotten by the world. I do wish the timeline had been made clearer through the film and we would have seen more interaction between the two leads though.

Biopic/ComedySeeing these two almost random people does feel strange for a biopic, the comedy works in places but in mostly light-hearted material.

SettingsThe settings show us how residential streets could be used to show how people can come together to work together to help someone in need.


Scene of the Movie –
Lift.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The timeline seems strange and jumps too much.

Final ThoughtsThis is a good comedy drama about listening to people’s stories, but it doesn’t pull on the levels it could have,

 

Overall: Good solid comedy drama.

Rating

 

 

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ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nomination – Z – Zorba the Greek (1964)

Director: Michael Cacoyannis

Writer: Michael Cacoyannis (Screenplay) Nikos Kazantzakis (Novel)

Starring: Anthony Quinn, Alan Bates, Irene Papas, Lila Kedrova, Giorgos Foundas, Sotiris Moustakas

 

Plot: An uptight English writer traveling to Crete on a matter of business finds his life changed forever when he meets the gregarious Alexis Zorba.

 

Runtime: 2 Hours 22 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic That Hasn’t Dated Well

 

Story: Zorba the Greek starts when uptight English writer Basel (Bates) heads to Crete, on his journey he meets Alexis Zorba (Quinn) who shows him the sites around the island using his social skills which makes him on of the most welcoming people Basil will ever meet.

As the two become friends we learn how Zorba has his lady Madame Hortense (Kedrova) waiting for him and he pushes Basil to follow the sparks he has with the Widow (Papas of the town, life lesson will be taught here for both of the men.

 

Thoughts on Zorba the Greek

 

Characters – Alexis Zorba is the Greek that knows everyone, gets on with everyone and is a pleasant guy with a haunted past. He takes Basil under his wing in Crete showing him how to come out of his shell. Basil is the English writer that travels to Crete to focus on his next book, he is uptight until Zorba starts showing him where the real stories in life can come from. We have two different lonely women, one a widow and one that has had her heart broken too often they become the objects of their affections.

PerformancesThe performances from the main cast are good throughout with the heavyweights of Anthony Quinn and Alan Bates showing their talents in the leading roles.

StoryThe story shows us how an Englishman visits a new country and starts living his life to the fullest after meeting a stranger with a lust for life, this does the traditional new world, new way of life ideas which Basil must go through, but otherwise this story is way too long without much happening or make too much sense. I found myself stopping this movie a lot because nothing was happening and it just became a dated classic for storytelling.

ComedyThis is meant to be some sort of comedy, I guess I missed the funniest moments?

SettingsThe film is set in Crete which does help Basil see a new style of life and it does look lovely.


Scene of the Movie –
First meeting.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Not understand the gang mentality here.

Final ThoughtsThis is one of the film that won big at the Oscars, but the truth is that it just doesn’t pull you in as much as it once did near its release.

 

Overall: Not one I enjoyed.

Rating