Written by / 2/19/2016 / No comments / , , ,

THE LADY IN THE VAN

Here at Cult Film Freak Cinema, we review just about everything in theaters, and this is proof
Maggie Smith has been around the block, and it shows. Not in an altogether negative way. She's looked ancient for quite a while now; and there's nothing shocking about that. Her face has aged considerably though comfortably. And being one of those actors who, even back in the day, looked old, makes it that more miraculous she's still on the big screen.

Buried Lead Alex Jennings
And like many an indie film, British or American, THE LADY IN THE VAN throws all its quirkiness right up front, so anything strange that happens seems completely normal. Thus, the loft of an extremely normal playwright/actor, that Smith's Miss Shepard decides to park her car in front of... a man whose routine is as important as a stubborn animal protecting their territory... makes him not only the main focus and buried lead, but he's the character to focus on simply because he spends so much time focusing on her – which is supposed to be our job, right?

Well the story really isn't about the title, but rather, the man who puts up with the old lady's idiosyncrasies. In that, Alex Jennings as Alan Bennett is the only person with actual character development that gradually arcs along with a basic story that, despite going in one ear and out the other, takes a sharp enough mind to digest the breezy journey at hand. What this poor fella has to weather from an eccentric old coot goes beyond painting her car and speaking bluntly about just about everything. She has seemingly no past, no family, no hope: only a future... thanks to him and him alone. Thus, Bennett's input surpasses the feel-good trailer-ready scenes of the duo running down the street (pushing her in a wheelchair). And sure, it could have been a better, more mysterious and intriguing movie, centering deeper into his isolation and stunted love life (timidly asking men to stick around for tea) as well as her own, and yet, VAN seems contentedly fine just... simply... parked there. For there's nothing wrong with mediocrity, just as long as IT doesn't mind.

RATING: ***
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