They seem to be promoting this as a comedy, but you may be tearful by the end, as it gets deeply affecting as Miss Shepherd ages and begins to look as dilapidated as her van. We see Smith's frailties too, the actress is 80 now and this may be her last major role, after those HARRY POTTER and DOWNTON ABBEY runs. Her last screen outing - MY OLD LADY - dropped beneath the radar, but they are pushing the boat out with this one, of course it has the added Bennett prestige. Smith has been granting interviews and returned to the chatshow circuit, as Awards Season gets underway. The competition will be stiff this time (Cate and Kate, Rooney? and Saoirse Ronan will be a major contender (see BROOKLYN review below) but I sense a final Oscar for Smith, a mere 45 years aftet her for first Best Actress Win (her second one was Supporting, for CALIFORNIA SUITE). But back to 1970s Camden in London ... this is a great London picture too.
Then theres's those HISTORY BOYS: James Corden has a moment as a barrow boy, Russell Tovey as one of Bennett's "guests", Dominic Cooper, Stephen Campbell Moore as the doctor attending Bennett's Mam (Gwen Taylor) up north, Selina Cadell, Jim Broadbent and more. At the centre though is Dame Maggie, resplendent, infuriating, rude, smelly, imperious, ungrateful and ultimately very touching as her secrets are revealed. One cannot take one's eyes off her. They may as well hand her the Oscar now. The final scenes will have you laughing and sobbing - you have to see her final moment for yourself.... This, BROOKLYN and CAROL coming up - cinema is fascinating again.