Dench's Oscar-worthy performance is a delight. She turns Mrs. Henderson into a cross between the stereotypical little old lady and a hurricane. As Guest's character discovers, you've got to love her even as she's steamrolling you.
The comedic scenes in Mrs. Henderson Presents are light but effective, but the drama is way over the top, especially when Mrs. Henderson almost literally gets on a soapbox and delivers a speech about the importance of topless women in times of war.
[The film is] buoyed along by the redoubtable Judi Dench, giving an acerbic reading of a formidable woman. But the failure to create tangible conflicts or satisfyingly developed characters around her is problematic.