Dames Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith have let the cameras in on a friendship that goes back more than half a century. The four acting greats discuss their careers and reminisce about their humble beginnings in the theatre.
While all four Dames have enjoyed a long career of critical acclaim (and were honored with a knighthood), only two also achieved box office success as part of a major movie franchise. Judi Dench starred as "M" in seven of the James Bond films, with a worldwide gross of $2.294b; but Maggie Smith tripled that by starring as Minerva McGonagall in seven Harry Potter films, which grossed $6.763b worldwide. See more »
Film Has Its Flaws But These Four Grand Dames Make it All a Pleasure
Four grand Dames of England, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright, and Eileen Atkins get together and reminisce at Plowright's country home. I would say the wonderful archival film snippets of some of their performances on stage and screen would be enough for the price of admission here. But we get a lot more than that as these superb actresses talk about their surprising self-doubts, anxieties before they perform, aging, marriages, reviewers, and swap inside stories of their interactions with fellow performers and directors.
I felt this documentary got off to a rather disjointed start but went more smoothly as it progressed. Some of the humor made me laugh out loud such as when Dench had to call the paramedics for a bee sting on her backside. Her description was hilarious of the very young EMT tech who asked her if she had a carer (in America would be a home aide) which made her furious and she told him to "f-off".
Overall, this film had its awkward moments and the technique of the talented director Roger Michell asking the four women from the wings to comment on a new topic didn't work very well, in my opinion. But just to sit in and eavesdrop on this get-together of four master artists was a real pleasure.
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