Tuesday, September 16, 2008

LADIES IN LAVENDER - soporific schmaltz

Yes, yes, Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith are simply marvellous actresses and it's interesting to see Charles Dance turn his hand from acting to directing. It's even rather nice to seen a costume drama set, not in a country house, but in a charming cottage on the English coast. But oh my word, this movie takes a long time to make it's rather slight emotional point. The bat's squeak of emotion barely survives the two-hour run-time.

The plot, such as it is, involves a young Polish man (Daniel Bruehl in a thankless role) who is washed up on the English coast in the middle of the last century. He is taken in by two old spinsters. The elder (Maggie Smith) is kind but reserved. The younger (Judi Dench) forms a strange attachment to the young man, becoming irrationally jealous when he forms an attachment to a young German woman (Natascha McElhone). It turns out that Judi Dench's character is trying to recapture a youthful passion. This is all very sad, but frankly, not enough to set the world alight, and certainly not enough to engage my sympathy or interest.

LADIES IN LAVENDER played Toronto 2004 and was released that year. It is available on DVD.

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