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Ladies in Lavender (2005)



Average Rating: 6.1/10
Reviews Counted: 89
Fresh: 56 | Rotten: 33

A charming, if slight, period drama that quietly showcases fine performances by its two stars.


Average Rating: 6.2/10
Critic Reviews: 30
Fresh: 19 | Rotten: 11

A charming, if slight, period drama that quietly showcases fine performances by its two stars.



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Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 7,901

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Movie Info

Two sisters engage in a subtle war for the affections of a man half their age in this British comedy drama. It's 1936, and Janet Widdington (Maggie Smith) and her sister, Ursula (Judi Dench), are a pair of elderly spinsters who share a home in Cornwall on the coast of England. After a storm, the sisters discover that someone has been washed up on the beach in front of their house. Bringing the body inside, they discover the victim is a handsome Polish man named Andrea Marowski (Daniel Brühl) who


Drama, Comedy

William J. Locke, Charles Dance

Dec 6, 2005


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All Critics (98) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (56) | Rotten (33) | DVD (8)

It's a British period piece, full of the sylvan Cornish coast and countryside, vintage motorcars, steam threshers and sensibilities. Pity they left out a compelling plot.

July 8, 2005 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A fascinating and involving chamber piece for two superb actresses.

June 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A wistful little thing about regret, jealousy and love.

June 2, 2005
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Under Dance's sure hand, and the even surer performances of Smith and Dench, who know that underplaying an emotion often increases its punch, the film is a small study in the dignity of letting go.

May 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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A funny, civilized little romantic drama in which Smith co-stars with the equally estimable Judi Dench.

May 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As long as Dench or Smith is on the screen there's plenty to absorb one's interest.

May 27, 2005 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Smith is rather wasted...Perhaps if the actresses had exchanged roles, this pallid palette would have had more emotional color.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

One wonders how much of their performances came from Dance's direction and how much came from the actresses themselves, but what counts is what is there on the screen, which is more than satisfactory.

May 2, 2006 Full Review Source:

Filled with wonderful music and magnificent, subtle acting. The story, however, goes nowhere at a glacial pace.

September 19, 2005 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Maggie Smith and Judi Dench are a great duo, but the film isn't so great.

August 12, 2005
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)

Remaining locked in Ursula and Janet's fantasies, Ladies in Lavender evades complexity with monomania.

August 9, 2005 Full Review

Dance is so tentative and tasteful in his direction that he never draws out the underlying emotions beneath the polite exteriors.

July 28, 2005 Full Review
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

There's something irresistibly admirable about Dance's decision to make a film based on a short story by a long-out-of-favor writer like William J. Locke.

July 20, 2005 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

...such a civilized and handsome film that we might be willing to forgive its lack of drama

July 15, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

A well-executed Masterpiece Theater leisurely-paced type of drama.

July 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

There is nothing like a Dame. Ladies in Lavender boasts two: Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. And they're enough to make this cinematic tea cozy eminently watchable.

July 1, 2005 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Dench and Smith are the sort of performers that students of fine acting are pleased to watch in anything, even if it's sweet-but-unsatisfying, unremarkable stuff like this.

June 30, 2005 Full Review Source:

Dance sets up a charming premise and then slowly lets the air out of it over the course of 100 minutes, limping to a predictable and pat conclusion.

June 30, 2005 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Weekly
Las Vegas Weekly

Watching seasoned British actresses Judi Dench and Maggie Smith work together ... is visual and verbal poetry in motion.

June 27, 2005

It's sweet, but ultimately, unfulfilling and hollow.

June 24, 2005
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The movie recognizes that older women aren't exclusively cute, comical, feisty, eccentric or wise. They also can be petty, morose and sexual.

June 24, 2005
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

The film does have Dench and Smith, which counts for a lot. And watching the two of them is at least moderately entertaining.

June 10, 2005 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

The story slowly - way too slowly - descends into silly soap opera that robs the stars, especially Dench as a moony spinster, of their dignity.

June 10, 2005
Salt Lake Tribune

Embalmed in a thick oil of expansive inoffensiveness.

June 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Audience Reviews for Ladies in Lavender

Ladies in Lavender is a gentle and pleasant film, full of good nature and subtlety. Although it may not blow you away, the performances by Judi Dench and Maggie Smith are exquisite. You could be fooled into thinking you were watching a couple of 18 year old girls, that is how convincing their performances are. Charles Dance's direction is good but the constant slow-motion technique did get on my nerves somewhat and it is a little detrimental to the actor's performances and the pace of the film I feel. Still, a pleasant viewing experience. Why not watch it with your Mum on a Sunday afternoon?
December 1, 2010

Super Reviewer

It doesn't take us any effort to understand the genuine fascination caused by the mysterious, handsome young man played by Daniel Brühl, but one should only watch this unremarkable British drama for the superb performances by Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.
August 29, 2010

Super Reviewer

Lavender Ladies Lose Their Way. Aesthetically pleasing without much content. Although the story is good and told beautifully it lacks drama.
February 5, 2010

Super Reviewer

Two grand old English ladies find a Polish kid washed up on their beach. They nurse Andrea back to life, and find out he is an accomplished violinist. I enjoy this sort of movie where the characters have to make difficult decisions.
November 18, 2007

Super Reviewer

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Latest News on Ladies in Lavender

January 28, 2009:
Charles Dance Books The Inn at the Edge of the World
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July 18, 2005:
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The first six minutes of "The Edukators" is up on Rotten Tomatoes. An import from Germany,...

Foreign Titles

  • Der Duft von Lavendel (DE)
  • Les Dames de Cornouailles (FR)
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