Success was granted to me, when I managed to see The Lady In The Van. Let me explain. The first attempt to watch this movie was thwarted by a power failure at the local cinemas. To much trauma, I am sure, a lot of disheartened individuals, of which I was one, had to waddle back to their homes and be entertained with something else. But on the following night, all had been restored, especially our hope in the local electricity grid, and we were a go! So there, success was granted to me, and success has no doubt been granted to this quirky and oddly engaging film!
This movie is a comedy, but it is also a heartfelt drama, with more moments that make you smile, than moment that may make you cry. The humour may not please all, but if you’re invested in the writing and dialogue of this movie, you’re in for a treat. The Lady In The Van is a direct adaptation from Alan Bennet’s play of the same name, which is based on a real lady, who really did live in a van. At the start of the film we are warned that this story is based ‘mostly’ on truth, and cleverly goes on to even joke upon this fact, throughout the film, to great comedic effect. Who is the real lady in the van? This is the question you’re left with at the end of this movie, so if you’re interested, be sure to check out this particular article.
Said question, is probably my major gripe with this film, which makes sense, because ultimately, the story is told from the perspective of an onlooker. An onlooker who talks to himself, a duality of persons, one that writes and one that lives. Admittedly this ingenious way to build a character works in this film, and at times you are left wandering, ‘is there really two of Mr. Bennet?’ And it’s at this point of our analysis of this film, that it’s worth mentioning that Alex Jennings is pure acting talent! Whilst were on the subject of performances, why on earth was Maggie Smith not nominated for an Oscar!?
It is not Maggie Smith’s fault that we are left wandering who the lady in the van really is, but the fact is that because there wasn’t anybody so intimately close to her, Miss Shepherd that is, she will live on to be a mystery. It’s this mystery that surrounds the film, that keeps you vested, and the eventual reveal does prove to be rewarding. It’s through the passing of time, that this film excels in, the great filmmaking techniques employed to demonstrate that ‘x’ amount of time has elapsed, only discernible by the keen and watchful eye. Simple enough, but don’t you love it when a movie tells you a story visually!?
We may never really know who Miss Shepherd really was, the true depth to her soul, but at the very least she has been immortalised into the canon of film as a loveable and endearing character. I hope you get a chance to enjoy this film, and I hope it manages to make you smile!
TRIVIA COOKIE: Keep an eye out towards the end if the film for a cameo from the real Alan Bennet. He is seen riding a bicycle and wearing a red scarf.