The Lady in the Van, Blu-ray (2016)

by | Apr 8, 2016 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

A British comedy-drama based on a true story, played by the magnificent Maggie Smith.

The Lady in the Van, Blu-ray (2016)

Cast: Maggie Smith, Alex Jennings, Pandora Colin, Marion Bailey, Jim Broadbent
Director: Nicolas Hytner
Studio: BBC Films/ Sony Pictures 46292 (4/19/16)
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 screens, 1080p color
Audio: English DD 5.1
Dubbed in: Portugeuese, French, Thai, Spanish
Subtitles: English SDH
All Regions
Extras: “Playing the Lady: Maggie Smith as Miss Shepherd,” Deleted scenes, The making of The Lady in the Van, The visual effects, Commentary with Nicolas Hytner
Length: 104 min.
Rating: *****

This is the true story of Miss Shepherd – a homeless person – who is of uncertain origins, just parks her old battletrap van in the driveway of playwright and author Alan in a suburb of London. She later gets a little used three-wheel car and also parks that there. He ends up staying (and often using his bathroom) for 15 years. The relationship of the two starts out in a strongly grudgeful state, and she does have an amazingly curmudgeonly style, but it eventually grows to a stage that will change both of their lives.

Slowly we are let in on some of the missing background of Miss Shepherd. It turns out she was a young concert pianist who studied with Alfred Cortot. When she was a novice in a convent (which later threw her out), she found a piano and began playing, but the sister in charge slammed down the keyboard cover and she was told music was the Devil’s pursuit. Therefore she hated any music being played around her. She had also been an ambulance driver in the war.

This has a lot more depth than one would think from the trailer, and is a touching portrait of the unusual woman. And Maggie Smith, who has won two Oscars now, certainly shines in the role.

—John Sunier

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