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.
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 »
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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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 »
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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