The film's trailer that made it look like 'Marigold' meets 'Archie Bunker' with a syrupy heart of gold turned me off seeing this initially. Catching up with it there was far more than the marketing decided to show. Alan Bennett wrote the film, from his own memoir, and gives it a sense of both play and candor especially in the device of giving his narrator dual identities. Alex Jennings is quite good as Bennett(s).
I have this thing for the English humor. There's such an intelligent, elegant and sarcastic side to it. And the fact that only a few people understand that sarcasm makes it even more attractive. Maggie Smith has the powerful and unique ability to build a performance that makes your heart warm and tender and then breaks it.
I think she might be the real queen of England, "possibly".
The most English film you'll see this year. An Alan Bennett adaptation complete with attempts at meta whilst exploring the life of an eccentric who stands out like a sore thumb in upper-middle class North London suburbia. A hit-and-miss conceptual attempt where Maggie Smith predictably shines with a deft performance as Mary/Margaret. Traditionalist postmodernism: what a ruddy mise-en-abyme style paradox. Oh wait...
Maggie Smith plays a destitute bag lady in this whimsical film written by Alan Bennett. She moves her van into Bennett's drive and stays many a year. The film has some beautiful twists and turns showing both a true community spirit and loneliness in a London suburb.
Only the English can take a story about two fairly singular eccentrics and turn it into the cinematic equivalent of drinking milky tea while soaking in a lukewarm bath. Tepid, in a not-unpleasant way; a nice change from sensationalism or contrived, paternalistic attempts at "humanizing" outsider characters. Skilfully acted and amusing. Unobtrusive and mild.
Nicely crafted but, perhaps, a little bit too English for the general public. Just a feeling of a lack of any sort of excitement for the story or the characters. Good to watch, though; specially if you like to be depressed with a feeling of community.