MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS is a bit of harmless fluff based on a true story that one suspects is somewhat more gritty. It is World War Two and those nasty nasty Huns are dropping bombs on London. How are we to keep up our morale? Why, by making a nice strong cup of tea and taking our clothes off! Spiffing. Mrs Henderson, Judi Dench in self-parody mode, is a rich aristo. widow who buys Soho's Windmill Theatre only to discover that there is little cash in serious plays. So she decides to bring French style buck-naked Vaudeville to the West End. The Lord Chancellor is a bit concerned, but Mrs. Henderson cunningly points out that if the naked girls stand still, rather than jiggling their proverbial "bits", then it is ART not SMUT.This is in essence the entire movie. Nice English girls get kit off. The only other point of note is that Bob Hoskins gets his kit off. However, I am hard pressed to discover what kind of audience THAT prospect would attract to the movie theatre.
This is a harmless, eccentric and mildly amusing film about harmless, eccentric and mildly amusing Brits and I imagine that it is designed largely for the export/costume drama market. Don't look for any deep insight about living in London in the Blitz or about landmark legal decisions on freedom of expression. Like a nice cup of tea, it is vaguely warming and heartening, but the effects wear off after about 10 minutes.
MRS HENDERSON PRESENTS went on general release in the UK on the 25th November 2005. It goes on limited release in New York and LA on the 9th December and on limited general release on Christmas Day. It hits France on the 6th January and Germany unaccountably late on the 23rd March 2006.
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