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.
There is a cable TV box on the outside of Bennett's House, there was no cable TV - certainly not in 1973. 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 »
Maggie Smith never disappoints. She is such an amazing actress and continues to be in "The Lady in the Van." Such an interesting true story of a very odd woman, this film is very endearing. The chemistry between Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings is very enjoyable to watch. Their relationship had a sort of codependency between them that was really fueled by a real caring for each other for different reasons. Director Nicholas Hytner did a great job of portraying the comedy found in this story. And that is due to the great acting of Maggie Smith, whom I cannot say enough about. Her recent Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture- Comedy was well deserved and although she didn't take home the trophy, her performance is still one to be heavily applauded.
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