The Lady in the Van

2015

Action / Biography / Comedy / Drama

21
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 89%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 64%
IMDb Rating 6.7 10 24256

Synopsis


Uploaded By: LINUS
February 29, 2016 at 07:48 AM

Cast

Maggie Smith as Miss Shepherd
Dominic Cooper as Actor
James Corden as Market Trader
Jim Broadbent as Underwood
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
757.28 MB
1280*682
English 2.0
PG - 13
23.976 fps
1 hr 44 min
P/S 1 / 4
1.58 GB
1920*1024
English 2.0
PG - 13
23.976 fps
1 hr 44 min
P/S 1 / 3

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by mark.waltz 7 / 10

Character study, Master Class, Maggie Smith. It is what it is.

To say that a certain performer could read the phone book and command attention has become a total cliché. It's used so much that when it is warranted, people roll their eyes because they've heard it so much. But for certain actors, it is true. They do command attention, not just because they are scene stealers or have a way delivering a sarcastic line or even because you've come to expect brilliance from them even in the lamest of works. It is in their soul, a gift from God, and a shining example from God that excellence does exist in the human being. Maybe not perfection, but in their talent, something so raw and beautiful that you feel that you are in love with them without even knowing them.

That is the case with Maggie Smith, an artist I have loved since my teen years, seeing her on screen in the original release of "Murder By Death". That 40 year old film has set my screen viewing on a love affair with the dry, witty, passionate and inwardly beautiful characters that she has played. And this, rumored to possibly be her final film, is her at her absolute most passionately brilliant characterization of all of those qualities.

Miss Shepherd isn't someone you'd want outside your home: apparently smelly, rude, cantankerous and manipulative. Harassed on the street, blackmailed, bugged to no end by social services, she becomes slowly both a rose and a thorn to writer Alan Bennett. His observing of her in all of her moods makes her come to life beyond those qualities.

This is not the first time that Dame Maggie has played not so glamorous characters or more staid, non- sarcastic ones. She could be any old bag lady you'd see on the street, supplying life observations to those who care to listen. She is real. She isn't acting. She is being. And thus, she is beautiful. And in deed, if this is her last film, she gets the most appropriate of endings.

Reviewed by blanche-2 8 / 10

Maggie Smith is Golden

"Lady in the Van" from 2015 is the "mostly" true story of playwright Alan Bennett's relationship with a woman who lived in various vans parked in his driveway for fifteen years. Bennett here is played by Alex Jennings, and the lady, Miss Shepherd, Maggie Smith.

Miss Shepherd, who smells awful from not bathing, lives in a crowded van and moves it from place to place, staying until she's thrown out or until she hears music. When she's told to move or do something else, she yells, as only Maggie Smith can do, "I'm a sick woman! Dying possibly!" Alan finds it impossible to break from her, though he tries. She prays very fervently and one time tells him that she spoke to the Virgin Mary at the post office. When he asks if the van is insured, she says she doesn't need it, she's insured in heaven. "So what happens if you have an accident?" Alan asks. "Who pays? The Pope?"

Alan is gay, though his friends are always trying to fix him up with a woman. One day Miss Shepherd says, "All those people who come and go in the dark, I know who they are." "Oh, Jesus," he says under his breath. "They're Communists!" she hisses. "Otherwise they wouldn't come and go in the dark."

Miss Shepherd is a woman of mystery - Alan finally learns that she studied piano, speaks fluent French, and was a nun. She also at times is seen going to someone's house in the dead of night. A man opens the door and comes outside. And someone stops by her van from time to time, and she gives him money.

In the end, we learn who these people are, her story of the convent, the history of her piano-playing, why she prays all the time, and who the men are.

Alex Jennings is perfect as Bennett (who appears at the end of the movie). He has his voice down pat, and in the film, there are two Alans - the writer Alan and the observer Alan, who talk with one another throughout the film. It's Alan who lives in the real world who encourages the writer Alan to be helpful to Miss Shepherd.

I am so privileged to have seen Maggie Smith in "Lettice and Lovage," one of my greatest evenings in the theater, where I laughed until I cried. At the end of that play, she gets on the phone and does a serious, touching monologue. She does the same here. Instead of the crazy homeless lady with the plastic bags we see and laugh at and wonder about during the play, she does a monologue that tells us who she is, and about her pain, heartbreak, and disappointments. "Why did you choose to be homeless?" Alan asks. "I didn't choose," she insists. "It was chosen for me."

A wonderful film about an uptight, cold man and a disturbed religious bag lady - you won't soon forget it.

Reviewed by Martin Bradley 8 / 10

A third Oscar for Maggie? Very probable, I'd say.

Like all the best English comedies, the humor in "The Lady in the Van" is founded on character and in eccentricity but then we should expect nothing less from the pen of the great Alan Bennett. This is mostly a true story we are told and it's the story of a very eccentric lady and one, or is it two, quite eccentric men. The lady is Mary, or is it Margaret, Shepherd who might be considered homeless were it not for the van she lives in. The somewhat eccentric man is Bennett himself. I said two because in this case we get two Bennetts for the price of one, Alan the writer and Alan the householder and they are both played by Alex Jennings.

Miss Shepherd really existed and she's the lady who, at Bennett's request. moved her van from the street outside his house, where she had parked it, into his driveway. Initially she was due to stay a few months but ended up parking there for 15 years. Bennett turned the story of her stay first into a novella and then into a play and now, under the direction of Nicholas Hytner, into a film and a beautiful job he's made of it.

Of course, for the purpose of dramatic and comic effect Mr Bennett has taken liberties, adding bits here and there including a delightful phantasmagorical ending. He also surrounds himself and Miss Shepherd with a host of other characters, some almost as eccentric as they are. Recreating the part she played on stage Maggie Smith is magnificent in the title role. Of course, you could say Maggie has been playing variations of Jean Brodie for the past 45 years. It's easy to see Miss Brodie in the put-downs of the Dowager, Countess of Grantham had Jean been born into a different generation or class and it's not much of a step to see Miss Shepherd as an older, very much down-on-her-luck Jean Brodie. A third Oscar is certainly not out of the question.

Jennings, too, has Bennett off to a tee and there's lovely support from the likes of Frances De La Tour, Roger Allam and Deborah Findlay as sundry neighbors while the entire cast of Bennett's "The History Boys" manage to pop up in one form or another. If it feels slighter than some of Bennett's other offerings it may simply be because here he is writing about someone we would probably pass in the street without looking twice at. Of course, if on meeting Miss Shepherd in the street we knew what we know now, we might indeed give her a second or even a third glance; we might even invite her to move her van into our driveway. Slight? Not a bit of it.

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