From grand dame to grub
Dame Maggie Smith recently won best actress at the British Bafta film awards for her wrinkly role in this odd movie.
The old Downton dame portraying a homeless, foul-mouthed filthy old duck long since gone to seed, living in a clapped-out van, still has plenty of pulling power. I felt she just looked lazily unkempt and worthy of a good old fire-hosing, but there you are.
That I found her and her toilet habits so disgusting was a tribute to Dame Maggie’s portrayal. I’m certain I could smell the cranky crone way back in my F-row seat.
The bludging pongy curmudgeonly Miss Shepherd (Maggie) cheekily parked herself in playwright Alan Bennett’s Camden Town, London, driveway for 15 blimmin’ years, mainly because Bennett was too timid for his own good.
The film opens with her being chased by a traffic cop after a bloody collision at an intersection.
That seemed to have nothing to do with her being a rude, semi-mobile squatter who took umbrage at kids playing music. It only made some sort of sense during the bizarre ending.
Parts of the story were true, but not the bit about there being two Bennett brothers, one of whom narrated throughout.
Alex Jennings played both brothers in similar mode to the way Tom Hardy played the Kray twins in Legend.
Everyone I polled had expected a comedy, notably a woman in seat G3 or 4 who clucked hilariously like Polly the Pullet whenever the old battleaxe opened her trap.
The clucking subsided when she, and we, realised this was not really a comedy. All of the funny lines were in the trailer. It is an off-beat biographical drama with detritus, which though cleverly made, drags despite the sterling efforts of an 81-year-old dowager on the rebound after 52 episodes of being the grand dame at Downton Abbey.
I’m certain I could smell the cranky crone way back inmy F-row seat.
Miss Shepherd, long-term freedom camper played by Dame Maggie Smith with her unwitting landlord, playwright and author Alan Bennett played by Alex Jennings.