Here to stay: A review of The Lady in the Van

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The Lady in the Van (2015)

Maggie Smith is excellent in this funny, sweet and lovable comedy drama based on a ‘mostly true’ story about the titular Lady in the Van, who came to stay in Alan Bennett’s drive for 6 months, and didn’t leave for 15 years.

Alex Jennings plays both sides of Bennett, his life side and his writer side, with fantastic dryness and verve, his patter with Smith is great, reminiscent of Coogan and Dench in 2013’s ‘Philomena’.

It’s a funny film, with a lot of dry British humour, Maggie Smith in particular brings all of the tone and bite that she brought to Harry Potter and Downton Abbey. She the film’s star, and when she’s not being funny, she’s being downright excellent in emotional scenes.

It’s not just funny, it’s also quite melancholy and sad, as we see the life and regrets of this woman play out, and see how she came to be where she is now. It’s lovingly crafted and its emotions perfectly balance the humour.

It’s a good fun film, with a solid heart and fantastic central performances.

Rating: B-  6/10

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