6.7/10
21,150
94 user 156 critic

The Lady in the Van (2015)

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A man forms an unexpected bond with a transient woman living in her van that's parked in his driveway.

Director:

Nicholas Hytner

Writers:

Alan Bennett (screenplay), Alan Bennett (memoir)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Maggie Smith ... Miss Shepherd
Jim Broadbent ... Underwood
Clare Hammond Clare Hammond ... Young Margaret Fairchild
George Fenton George Fenton ... Conductor
BBC Concert Orchestra BBC Concert Orchestra ... The British Symphony Orchestra
Alex Jennings ... Alan Bennett
Jamie Parker Jamie Parker ... Estate Agent
Deborah Findlay ... Pauline
Roger Allam ... Rufus
Richard Griffiths Richard Griffiths ... Sam Perry
Pandora Colin Pandora Colin ... Fiona Perry
Nicholas Burns ... Giles Perry
Dominic Cooper ... Actor
Giles Cooper Giles Cooper ... Passer by
Tom Klenerman Tom Klenerman ... Tom Perry
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Storyline

The Lady in the Van tells the true story of Alan Bennett's strained friendship with Miss Mary Shepherd, an eccentric homeless woman whom Bennett befriended in the 1970s before allowing her temporarily to park her Bedford van in the driveway of his Camden home. She stayed there for 15 years. As the story develops Bennett learns that Miss Shepherd is really Margaret Fairchild (died 1989), a former gifted pupil of the pianist Alfred Cortot. She had played Chopin in a promenade concert, tried to become a nun, was committed to an institution by her brother, escaped, had an accident when her van was hit by a motorcyclist for which she believed herself to blame, and thereafter lived in fear of arrest.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A mostly true story See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG - 13 for a brief unsettling image | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

26 February 2016 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dama iz dvorišta See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£2,256,121 (United Kingdom), 15 November 2015, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$175,280, 22 January 2016, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$10,017,675, 5 June 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Maggie Smith appeared in one episode of Talking Heads (1987) which was a series written by Alan Bennett. She starred in A Private Function (1984) which was also written by Alan Bennett. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene the windshield was cracked and had a blood stain. This cracked area and blood stain were much smaller than they were for the rest of the film. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Alan Bennett: [typing] The smell is sweet, with urine only a minor component, the prevalent odor suggesting the inside of someone's ear. Dank clothes are there, too, wet wool and onions, which she eats raw. Plus, what for me has always been the essence of poverty, damp newspaper. Miss Shepherd's multi-flavored aroma is masked by a liberal application of various talcum powders, with Yardley's Lavender always a favorite. And currently it is this genteel fragrance that dominates the second subject, ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

During the first part of the credits, a young Margaret can be seen playing the piano at her concert in King's Hall. See more »

Connections

References Talking Heads (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven
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User Reviews

 
Maggie Smith Rules
6 March 2016 | by billcr12See all my reviews

The Lady in the Van is exactly as the title implies; an old woman living alone in a van. It may sound like a thin premise for a full length move, but, trust me, it isn't. Maggie Smith arrives in town and plants herself in front of a playwrights house, and, after problems with the local authorities, the van winds up in his driveway for many years. This is based on a true story and it is a compelling one about loneliness, isolation, expectations, and religion(Roman Catholic). Smith deserved the Academy Award for her noble and unmatched performance. Brie Larson was fine in "Room" but she is not on the same level as Maggie Smith. Mary Shepherd(Smith) is the woman with the van, and Alan Bennett is the writer Alex Jennings who allows Mary to live in his driveway and occasionally use his bathroom. He slowly unravels her life story, which include a stay at a convent in order to become a nun and a promising career as a concert pianist. Her tale is not a happy one, but Smith will hold your attention for the entire film. Do not miss The Lady in the Van, one of the ten best movies of 2015.


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