The Lady In The Van

BBFC Classification: 12A - Suitable for 12 years and over
Year: 2015
Director: Nicholas Hytner
Performers: Maggie Smith, Dominic Cooper, James Corden
Genre: Biography, Drama

Patricia CrawfordFilm

The Lady in the Van began life as a short autobiographical memoir, which Alan Bennett adapted into a stage play starring Dame Maggie Smith. She plays Mary Shepherd, the titular lady who arrived on his London driveway for three months but stayed for 15 years. The 1989 memoir – first published in the London Review of Books – and the 1999 play both received excellent critical reviews.  Alex Jennings, who turned down the part of Bennett on stage, takes up the role of the author on screen.  The story is as much about Bennett as Miss Shepherd.  What was his motive in letting her take up residence on his driveway in 1971?  Is he a modern-day saint as his neighbours claim, or was he just too weak to turn her away?  The author even admits that part of him may be taking advantage of the eccentric Miss Shepherd, letting her stick around for the literary inspiration that she provides. Contains infrequent strong language