Showing posts from May, 2016

Social-Issues Allsorts

Oh my lord, Maggie Smith is wonderful. In The Lady in the Van (dir. Nicholas Hytner, 2015), she plays Miss Mary (Margaret? mentally insert winky emoticon here) Shepherd with pathos and wit in this 'mostly true' tale, set in 1970s London. There is lots of subtext about certain classes of people being outside of the law—gays, the homeless—and those ostensibly living within social constraints—nuns, neighbours, classical musicians—but the film turns a lot of these assumptions on their heads. Alex Jennings plays the film-contained writer, Alan Bennett, with restrained wryness, although I found Jim Broadbent uncharacteristically underwhelming. Lest I provide spoilers, I will speak vaguely. The story contains  theological themes of absolution and ablution, and the van becomes her sepulchre, both as a living coffin for her sins and a literal one later, after she has experienced those sacraments. While the end would probably be difficult to create any less cheesily, there is enough g