There is nothing like getting together with old friends. Especially, if you have been friends for multiple decades.
The new movie, Tea with the Dames, directed by Roger Michell, is a conversation between four of the greatest living actresses in modern Hollywood. In the film, Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Joan Plowright, and Dame Eileen Atkins discuss life, love, career, family and everything in between.
What I loved about this documentary is that these women not just pretending to be friends for the sake of the camera. This is not another role where they pretend to be someone else and have pretend relationships with their co-stars. They have a real emotional bond and years of friendship that easily comes across the screen. In addition to the interviews with the film’s subjects, the documentary also includes archival footage from their past work, images from their personal life and images of roles they have played in the past.
I absolutely recommend it.
Tea with the Dames is presently in theaters.
We sometimes forget that legends are human too. We may not think of them that way, but sometimes we have to move past the legend to see the real human being underneath.
Queen Victoria is one of those legends.
The new movie, Victoria and Abdul, takes place at the end of her reign and life. She is celebrating her Golden Jubilee. Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) is a young man from India chosen to celebrate the Queen’s 50th year on the throne by presenting with a gift from her Indian subjects. It’s supposed to be a one shot trip. But the Queen is taken by the intelligent and entertaining young man. Abdul not only teaches her about his world and his life, but he becomes a favorite. This, naturally does not go over well with Victoria’s son and heir, Bertie (Eddie Izzard) and her household. The question is, will this unusual friendship last and how far will those around Victoria go to remove Abdul from her life?
This movie is based on a book, entitled Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant, by Shrabani Basu. I have not read the book, my review is strictly based on the movie. The cast is nothing but stellar. My favorite performance came from Eddie Izzard. While he started his career as a performer in comedy, he clearly has the chops to play a serious or dramatic part. I would not be surprised if a few nominations came his way during award season. His Bertie is a man who has been chomping at the bit to sit on the throne and is not happy that this Indian man is placing one more obstacle in the way of getting to the throne.
That being said, the movie was disappointing. It was disappointing because there were moments in the narrative that felt like endings, but they weren’t. By the time the credits rolled, it was a relief that it was over.
Do I recommend it? I would love to say yes, but I have to say maybe.
Victoria and Abdul is presently in theaters.
The general rule is that when it comes to movie sequels is that for every movie sequel that does justice to the original film, there are many others that tarnish the reputation and quality of the first film.
Thankfully, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015) does not tarnish the reputation of it’s predecessor.
The movie starts 8 months after the first film ended. The residents of the The Exotic Marigold Hotel remain as we left them. Muriel D0nnelly (Dame Maggie Smith) runs the hotel with Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel). Sonny is eager to expand the hotel. Evelyn Greenslade (Dame Judi Dench) is having a will they/won’t they relationship with Douglas Ainslie (Bill Nighy). But his marriage to Jean (Penelope Wilton) might be over emotionally, but not legally. Madge Hardcastle (Celia Imrie) is caught between two local men.
Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle (Norman Cousins and Carol Parr) are comfortably together, but their relationship is being tested. Sonny is also in the middle of finalizing wedding preparations with his fiance, Sunaina (Tina Desai), but his insecurities come out in the person of the best friend of his soon to be brother in law. Added to the cast is American author wannabe Guy Chambers (Richard Gere) and newcomer Lavinia Beech (Tamsin Greig).
I liked the first film and I was eager to to see this one. Unlike many sequels, this movie did not let me down. It was as charming, funny and entertaining as it’s predecessor. What both movies have taught me is that life and learning does not end when we reach a certain age. We can be 70 years old and still be learning something new every day. We can be 70 years old and still feel the butterflies and uncertainty of new love.
This movie is wonderful. It proves that age is nothing but a number and life’s ups and down’s continue. It also proves that female performers can draw in audiences at 70 as they did at 35.
I absolutely recommend this film.
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is presently on DVD.
The only way to start my review is to say that Judi Dench is an international treasure an actress. Every performance is so nuanced and different, that the audience sometimes forgets that it is one performer playing all of these characters.
Philomena is the true story of woman’s journey to find the son she was forced to give up.
In the 1950’s, Philomena Lee (Sophie Kennedy Clark) has a son outside of wedlock. Her only home is a nunnery where she works in slave labor like conditions and is only allowed to see her son an hour a day. When her son is taken from her, Philomena is heartbroken, but never forgets her first child.
50 years later, her daughter Jane (Anna Maxwell-Martin) meets a disgraced journalist, Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) who takes up the story as a human interest piece. That leads them to Washington DC where they search for her son.
This movie is fantastic. Both Steve Coogan and Judi Dench give nuanced, understated performances. I love the yin and yang of Philomena’s faith in spite of her experiences and Martin’s lack of faith. The thing I loved most is that despite what the nuns did to her, Philomena still clings to her faith and forgives those who took her child from her.
This film and all involved deserves any and all awards send it’s way.