Director: Nicholas Hytner
Running time: 1 hour 44 mins
Cast: Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Jim Broadbent
I would say this film is a delightful portrayal of an incident which was supposed to last a short period but escalated for years. Alan Bennett, played brilliantly by Alex Jennings takes pity of ‘Miss Sheperd, also played brilliantly by Maggie Smith, who is a bag lady but owner of a van, who bothers a street in Camden where Bennett lives. Rather than being a good deed doer, Bennett’s offer to let the lady park in his driveway is in fact to stop her getting in the way of his writing.
Yes, that relationship, if that’s what you can call it, is fractured and amusing but really I more enjoyed the ‘other’ Alan who is his writer self, who is also portrayed on screen by the same actor. He talks to his other self as an inner voice personified. It’s engaging and light hearted but there’s the sense of sadness in the lady’s past as we uncover and piece together a surprising past.
I really enjoyed this little film and enjoyed my first dip into the world of Bennett.