The Lady in the Van – A Feel Good Film

On a dreary Saturday afternoon we sought some cinematic sunshine courtesy of British institutions, Alan Bennett and Dame Maggie Smith. The Lady in the Van tells the true story of an eccentric ex-nun; Mary Shepherd who parked up in her battered Mimosa yellow van on Bennett’s driveway in Camden for 15 years.

The film follows the highs and lows of Mary’s tempestuous relationship with Alan who initially sums her up as “bigoted, rank, rude”, but eventually comes round to reflect on her “vagabond nobility”. The film provides an honest glimpse of life on the charmed bohemian Camden neighbourhood disrupted by Miss Mary’s cranky yellow van over-spilling with old papers, raw onions (her main diet) and all manners of artefacts she cannot bear to throw away. Beneath the, at points, slightly predictable humour, the film offers a sensitive and gentle portrayal of what it is to grow old and find yourself living in the fringes of society (we discover why as her story unfolds).

With star appearances from James Corden as a fruit and veg trader and Jim Broadbent as a sinister face from Miss Mary’s past, the film offers a cosy, family, friendly distraction on a rainy afternoon with some killer lines. Fever gives Mary and her van a big thumbs up!

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