Alan Bennett forms a strange bond with a woman who lives in a van, this van happens to end up in his driveway . . . for 15 years!
I will admit that I did not have a massive amount of background knowledge on Alan Bennett or anything to do with this film really. As it is loosely based on a real story, the real part obviously being that the lady in the van really did happen. I was lucky enough to get a ticket for a morning screening, the previous evening it had a premiere at the London Film Festival.
I’m not really sure where to start with this film as it was a little bit different. I am not saying by any means that is a bad thing, but it was not what or how I expected it to be from the trailers. I think the biggest problem that the film had was that we see a crash at the beginning and it takes way too long to find out what exactly happened, well not just the audience but Alan as well. He is slowly finding out what happened with Mary and how she became the lady in the van.
We often see Alan on-screen twice at the same time, with two different parts of him being played out as individuals. This took some getting used to but it worked pretty well to help show how you can really have two different ways of thinking and behaving. It was also amusing to see how the other people living in the street reacted to Mary and how she really did become a part of their lives.
Maggie Smith did put in an amazing performance and her delivery of some of the cheeky lines was just perfect, one of those roles that you cannot imagine anyone else playing. Baring in mind that she is on-screen for a very high percentage of the film. It did have a few different twists and turns as Alan had to come to terms with not only Mary but his mother’s declining health. Something which I think is to help show the time that is quickly passing by.
It is a very British affair and that is thrown in your face quite a lot with the humour and different moments. You will see a few quite well-known actors who have a small part, cameo if you will although that is something we don’t actually hear very much of anymore. The experience of watching the film at the Odeon in Leicester Square really was an experience. Some of the laughter was rather loud and it was a very different way to watching a film in my local Cineworld that is for sure!
The ending was very strange and I felt that it should have been different, by simply ending a few minutes earlier. As it certainly took it to a different level and place which I did not find to be a good thing. It took it to a different place that the previous parts of the film did not hit, I think it actually became a parody of itself. Maybe that is what Bennett intended to do with it? Must have been a little bit strange reliving a part of his actual life.
So it was a nice experience to see this as part of the London Film Festival and therefore is the first EVER review on Let’s Go To The Movies from seeing a film at a festival. Groundbreaking review!!!