There are films that are endearing, and like to leave their mark. Some of them are expensive or movies, or are full of stars and starlets, but rely on a good script, a good craftsman own direction and a brilliant interpretation. If you like that kind of movie, no doubt, 'The Lady in the Van' you will like.
The weight of the film lies with Maggie Smith. The veteran actress, playing the role of a senile beggar overboard one of the best performances of her long career. With just turned 82 years old, holder of two Oscars (in 70 to 79 Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress), this time, it shows that it is possible to go beyond perfection in autumn life. It's funny that the older players in the global film scene are English and Mrs. Smith shares remain in the scene with Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, Jr., better known as Michael Caine as well just have a few months the actress. Both, incidentally, own the same number of Oscars (two) and nominations (four). Two parallel runs for two actors of the same generation.
London beggars differ from those of Paris -the clochards- frequent that they are usually more loaded, less or not drunk (alcohol is the common denominator of the tramps) and even some of them are educated (usually spend time sodokus solving), discreet and educated; They love to chat, even those who are not of to them guild. It would be difficult for a clochard, however, lead the word to other than it was, except to ask you something. The Parisian beggar outrageous demands money, unpleasant and offensive, as if you were an ATM and had the obligation to give, while their London colleagues, or do not ask or do it with dignity and restraint. Believe me that tramps have worse body odor than those across the Channel (although that is one of the features with which the director Nicholas Hytner's character decorates Mrs. Smith). In both cases, begging, wandering life with no future, add in both cases in madness, especially since certain ages. Such is the role who plays Maggie Smith.
Her character is eccentric, gifted traditional English humor and extremely sensitive. She loves music. She is an educated person. If scares the neighborhood children is that they are barely able to hold concerts of dissonance. Her impenetrable face, refers to the best performances of Buster Keaton: stick your face is more expressive than any gesticulating mime.
The counterpart of the beggar is a writer, played by Alex Jennings engaged in an ongoing dialogue with himself (a form of neurosis very common among people accustomed to the craft of writing). So, Maggie Smith has no counterpart but two: the thoughtful, caring writer and his alter ego, ironic and distant. The relationship lasts 15 years, the time it takes the plot of the film to develop.
It is worth recalling the career of Nicholas Hytner, if one wants to go to the movies safer and enter the room convinced that it will not lose any time see a banality of many that are projected. If you liked 'The Madness of King George "(1994), it was the architect of Hytner. His family (Jewish, not a practitioner) is linked for generations to tables and before that film, he cut his teeth in the theater and opera. It is therefore a multifaceted and versatile principal. He has directed plays by Shakespeare and Marlowe, Wilde and Bernard Shaw. his staging of 'The Magic Flute' by Mozart in Inglés National Opera (25 years in the repertoire) recalled in London. It is not overly lavish in film. If he filmed 'The Madness of King George' in 1994 (his first film) it was because before had been the theater scene. There collaboration with Allan Bennett, author of that script and now the script for 'The Lady in the Van' is exactly started. It should also be added that some nods of the film become more understandable if one considers that Hytner is gay.
The film works and works like a charm, the director manages to convey, through an expressionless face, all the pain and despair that may experience homelessness. It's a risky film in the hands of a less experienced director could have ended in a sentimental comedy or even a humanitarian cheesy which recall several. But the symbiosis between the script (written by Alan Bennett), address (Hytner) and interpretation (Smith and Jennings), get a movie that, for now, is already recognized as the best shot in 2015 and was nominated for a Golden Globe and BAFTA for best actress.
A recommended film that will leave a good impression. dramatic but with an undercurrent of comedy realism. A reflection on what is old age, poverty, solidarity and critical points of life, with the end surprises...
See it, you'll like.