The Lady in the Van

The Lady in the Van

The Lady in the Van

The great Maggie Smith stars in this light-hearted true story as an elderly homeless woman who strikes up an unusual relationship with English playwright Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings, The Queen), whilst living in a van parked outside his house. Co-stars Jim Broadbent (Le Week-End), Dominic Cooper (My Week with Marilyn) and James Corden (One Chance).

2015Rating: M, Offensive language104 minsUK
DramaTrue Story & Biography
88%
want to see

Reviews & comments

Variety

Variety

press

Low on narrative drive, and marred by a misjudged final-act swerve into extravagant whimsy, Nicholas Hytner’s amiable luvvie-fest is enlivened by Smith’s signature irascibility.

0
Time Out

Time Out

press

A wonderful Maggie Smith plays all this dead straight, poker-faced for maximum laughs.

4.0
0
The New York Times

The New York Times

press

In Ms. Smith's tough, levelheaded performance, Mary is an irascible termagant full of batty notions clutching on to life as best she can. She is hard to like, and that's good.

0
The Guardian

The Guardian

press

Smith’s performance, honed from the previous stage and radio versions, is terrifically good.

4.0
0
Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald

press

Bennett offers Maggie Smith a chance to renovate her own recent persona with a woman who's heroically alive. Smith takes it with both hands, giving us more of the loneliness and despair of old age than the glib comedy.

4.0
0
Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone

press

It's fun to watch Shepherd hate on bratty children, classical music and liberal pieties.

0
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

press

A delicately written, boisterously performed movie about the difficult people who dare us to care about them.

0
Little White Lies

Little White Lies

press

On the surface, The Lady in the Van is mild to a fault but - like its author - it is powered by sharp observations about life and people.

4.0
0
Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

It's Smith's eccentric oldster who is the film's driving force, and the 80-year-old actress doesn't disappoint.

0
FilmInk

FilmInk

press

Its droll sense of sentiment makes up significantly for its so-slight smugness. A minor gem.

0
Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

press

Unshowy to a fault, Hytner delivers a fine, moving comedy of English manners...

4.0
0

I thought the ending was a bit much, it should have ended where she appears to Bennett at the graveside, rather than a resurrection into a micheangelo type heaven. With that aside, I enjoyed the movie immensely, who wouldn't with someone like Dame Maggie in it.

4.0
0

Magnificent

I just love everything about it. Icing on the cake for this movie is the grand finale! :-)

5.0
0

A bit crap.

Went in with reasonably high expectations but almost feel asleep. It's slow, not that interesting and predictable. Wouldn't see it again but go in the first time after 3 gin and tonics. You might enjoy it.

2.0
0

Outstanding ...

A real real story. Brilliant performances all around. If the film has a weakness, I think it didn't need the 'ascension' ... enough said. Nevertheless, a touching and compelling movie. Afterwards, I had to go an listen to the recordings I have of Alan Bennett reading Winnie the Pooh.

5.0
0

Expected more

I enjoyed parts of the movie but other parts were very slow and boring.

3.0
0

A Terrific Ride

A marvelous film full to the brim with top British acting talent led by the sublime Dame Maggie and Alex Jennings. It really is a simple story of the begrudging kindness between Bennett and Miss Shepherd but brought beautifully to life by a smart, side splitting script that never sways into the realms of sentimentality but tells it how it was - mostly....

5.0
0
Variety

Variety

press

Low on narrative drive, and marred by a misjudged final-act swerve into extravagant whimsy, Nicholas Hytner’s amiable luvvie-fest is enlivened by Smith’s signature irascibility.

0
Time Out

Time Out

press

A wonderful Maggie Smith plays all this dead straight, poker-faced for maximum laughs.

4.0
0
The New York Times

The New York Times

press

In Ms. Smith's tough, levelheaded performance, Mary is an irascible termagant full of batty notions clutching on to life as best she can. She is hard to like, and that's good.

0
The Guardian

The Guardian

press

Smith’s performance, honed from the previous stage and radio versions, is terrifically good.

4.0
0
Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald

press

Bennett offers Maggie Smith a chance to renovate her own recent persona with a woman who's heroically alive. Smith takes it with both hands, giving us more of the loneliness and despair of old age than the glib comedy.

4.0
0
Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone

press

It's fun to watch Shepherd hate on bratty children, classical music and liberal pieties.

0
Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times

press

A delicately written, boisterously performed movie about the difficult people who dare us to care about them.

0
Little White Lies

Little White Lies

press

On the surface, The Lady in the Van is mild to a fault but - like its author - it is powered by sharp observations about life and people.

4.0
0
Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

It's Smith's eccentric oldster who is the film's driving force, and the 80-year-old actress doesn't disappoint.

0
FilmInk

FilmInk

press

Its droll sense of sentiment makes up significantly for its so-slight smugness. A minor gem.

0
Empire Magazine

Empire Magazine

press

Unshowy to a fault, Hytner delivers a fine, moving comedy of English manners...

4.0
0

I thought the ending was a bit much, it should have ended where she appears to Bennett at the graveside, rather than a resurrection into a micheangelo type heaven. With that aside, I enjoyed the movie immensely, who wouldn't with someone like Dame Maggie in it.

4.0
0

Magnificent

I just love everything about it. Icing on the cake for this movie is the grand finale! :-)

5.0
0

A bit crap.

Went in with reasonably high expectations but almost feel asleep. It's slow, not that interesting and predictable. Wouldn't see it again but go in the first time after 3 gin and tonics. You might enjoy it.

2.0
0

Outstanding ...

A real real story. Brilliant performances all around. If the film has a weakness, I think it didn't need the 'ascension' ... enough said. Nevertheless, a touching and compelling movie. Afterwards, I had to go an listen to the recordings I have of Alan Bennett reading Winnie the Pooh.

5.0
0

Expected more

I enjoyed parts of the movie but other parts were very slow and boring.

3.0
0

A Terrific Ride

A marvelous film full to the brim with top British acting talent led by the sublime Dame Maggie and Alex Jennings. It really is a simple story of the begrudging kindness between Bennett and Miss Shepherd but brought beautifully to life by a smart, side splitting script that never sways into the realms of sentimentality but tells it how it was - mostly....

5.0
0