ByCaitlin Monaghan, writer at
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Caitlin Monaghan

It wasn't until after watching the film, I found out that the film is based on the real story of Mary Shepard, whose real name is Margaret Fairchild. The talented Maggie Smith plays the eccentric homeless lady who lives in her old van in Alan Bennett's driveway for 15 years.

I find it also interesting that Maggie Smith has played Shepherd twice: first time was in the original 1999 theatrical production and the second time was in the 2009 BBC Radio 4 adaption.

During the whole film, one thought that kept coming to mind was that I could so see Maggie Smith being like Mary Shepard as a weird old lady. Maggie Smith was so good in this role. It makes me love her so much more.

One thing I found really weird through out the film was that Alan Bennett would talk to himself. I don't mean in the sense that he says something out aloud and no one responds but he talks to himself out aloud and there is another him in the room that he is actually having a conversation with. It was so weird. It made no sense what so ever and didn't help the plot or the film in the film.

As mentioned before, I love Maggie Smith in this film. She does a good job at playing at a crazy, eccentric old lady. My favourite scenes in this film include the two scenes where Mary Shepard is painting her old van yellow as well as the new van she gets. It's strange but funny. The other scene I do like is when Alan Bennett pushes Mary Shepard up the street a bit, while she is in her wheelchair of course, and than lets her roll down the street before catching up to her and making sure she doesn't get injured.

Another thing I do like about the film is that it includes three Harry Potter Actors. One of them being Maggie Smith (McGonagall). There is also Jim Broadbent (Professor Slughorn) and Frances de la Tour (Mademe Olympe Maxime). Although Jim Broadbent and Frances de la Tour have smaller parts in this film.

I couldn't find any major problems with the lighting, camera, sound or editing. Though I found the scripting and storyline lacking. There wasn't much character development either. Which really let me down. Apart from this, the film was kind of interesting but not something I would see again.


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