Starring – Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings
Director – Nicholas Hytner
Writer – Alan Bennett
This film tells the true story of the relationship between Alan Bennett and the singular Miss Shepherd, a woman of uncertain origins who ‘temporarily’ parked her van in Bennett’s London driveway and proceeded to live there for 15 years.
I, like most people knew nothing of the story of Miss Shepherd and her van in the 70s/80s. I instead was going to this movie purely for the magic that is Maggie Smith. The key word there being ‘magic’. I grew up watching the Harry Potter films and Maggie Smiths portrayal as Professor McGonagall and whatever character she plays on screen has always been magical for me and The Lady in the Van is no exception.
The film centres arounds Miss Maggie Shepherd as played by Maggie Smith (a women with an uncertain past) “befriending” play writer Alan Bennet played by Alex Jennings who allows her to park her van in his driveway for 15 years.
So what I am going to do is summarise the movie in this one paragraph and say that it is a very enjoyable film. It is well written and directed and has some very hilarious moments followed by very touching moments which do tug at the heart strings. The soundtrack which is arranged by George Fenton is the icing on the cake for this film. I would highly recommended this film to all people after a good rainy day movie.
Now, the reason why I wanted to summarise this film so quickly is so I can touch on one of the main themes of this film which is ‘compassion’. It is so very really reported on these days, stories of compassion, but is something we all need reminding of.
In the end we will all die, but what makes it all worth it is the ride we take to get there. Sure these rides at times can be bumpy and seem to go uphill for a long time but the downhill is made by the people we surround ourselves with and the compassion we have for each other. Reminding each other of the love we have for one another and the small deeds we do make this trip an enjoyable one.
As Gandalf said “It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
Remember those words, kindness, compassion and love. It’s the fuel that carries you along on journey through life.