Mrs. Henderson Presents - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mrs. Henderson Presents Reviews

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Super Reviewer
June 2, 2014
The Windmill Theater in London was infamous for shaking up that famous British stiff upper lip with their girly revues and bawdy shows, and that story is told here (however informed by Hollywood musicals). So the background story is laid out about a rich society widow sponsoring an showbiz venture, unusual in Britain upper circles, and the eventual success of that venture, but the real film lies in the re-creation of the stage shows put on in those years.
The whole is not bad, yet lacking the bite the real story, a British story, of the impact, humanity and courage even prostitutes must've had during the wartime blitz. For a work purportedly celebrating those people, this film shies away from who those people were.
Super Reviewer
August 21, 2012
The recently widowed Mrs. Henderson has no idea what to do with her life and her vast amount of cash. Her friend suggests she gets herself a hobby, and after pricking her finger doing some embroidery she instead decides to buy a rundown theatre. She hires theatre manager Bob Hoskins to take over and run a musical review which all goes fine and dandy until everyone copies them. They decide to do something more daring and so have nudes on the stage. The film has the classical polite British putdowns and absurd but brilliant satirical moments. The nudes are not allowed to move, because then it's art. The musical numbers are quite fun and inventive and the verbal fisticuffs between Dench and Hoskins is brilliant. They each give us a warm but strict character and there is a lot of chemistry, which makes it even more interesting when the film shrugs off the romance angle between the pair. In the latter half after the war kicks off the film inevitably loses some of its warm colourful charm, but reflects the time period accordingly. A great supporting cast, especially Guest in a hilarious role, bring alive those little moments. A joyful feel good movie that gives a lot of heart.
Super Reviewer
½ January 8, 2007
A great little English film with a great English casting line up. Including Kelly Reilly a very good actress on the rise, who will be well known to UK audiences in Above Suspicion, as the star of a West end show where the girls perform naked. Set during the 2nd world war, it shows the quirky, eccentric and fighting spirit of the people at the time. The film whizzes by very quickly, with a great cast, lovely girls this was a quirky comedy/drama that was more entertaining than I expected.
Super Reviewer
½ November 24, 2010
A valiant effort, Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins are a perfectly mismatched couple, plotting through their endeavor of the theatre with clarity, but what should have been more of a dramatic historical effort, came off as a campy, sex ploy, plot holed film. Still quite enjoyable though.
Super Reviewer
October 5, 2010
Dame Judi Dench. If you like her, you will like this nice, slow moving drama.
Super Reviewer
½ August 26, 2010
A nice historical effort that gives those consumate actors Dench and Hoskins a chance to show off their chops, Mrs. Henderson Presents tell the tale of an elderly upper class woman of means who, for reasons that are poignantly revealed later, decides to open a theatre for a vaudville type musical review.

Dench is a marvel in this role and her interplay with Hoskins is simply fun to watch.

The film has some nice theatrical touches, and Frears keeps the reigns on the more maudilin aspects, walking the tightrope and managing to keep the script moving and for the most part upbeat, in spite of the underlying "secret" and the backdrop of the beginnings of WWII (this is a historical piece afterall).

There are some wonderful funny moments, for example, when Dench complains to her old biddy girlfriend that Hoskins is not paying the proper attention to her, the biddy tells Dench that she has to formulate a battle plan. She then goes on to mention that her late husband, the general, liked to attack from the rear, which while being a sound military tactic didn't do much for their love life.....

I found the secondary stories of the girls of the theatre a nice way of rounding the edges and giving the film more body, and enjoyed the speach by Dench in which she not only reveals why she bought the theatre to begin with, but thumbs her nose at the stiff British mores. We've sure come a long way since then in some respects, but perhaps have lost something along the way.
Super Reviewer
June 15, 2006
What an enjoyable movie. Wickedly hilarious and magnificent. Judie Dench is outstanding. Bob Hoskins has never been better. They have delightful chemistry.
Super Reviewer
June 16, 2007
A great little film! Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins feud so well, you'd think they were married in real life, and it's worth watching just for the scenes they do together. It tackles the question of nudity especially well, and thankfully, the movie-raters in Canada had the common sense to rate it PG despite the many, many breasts that are bared in the name of art.

The only knock on it is that, while capturing a distinct historical moment fairly well, sometimes it is clear that the filmmaker, audience (and seemingly, the characters) know how the rest of the Second World War will unfold. Call it an undertone, I guess. It's a bit of a slow starter, but before you know it, Judi Dench has yet again reeled you in and shows that her Oscar nod was well-deserved. Watch this film.
Super Reviewer
½ January 4, 2007
if they made it so you couldnt see anything of their nakedness then i would give it a 5!
Super Reviewer
November 3, 2006
It is commendable that the folks involved in this were so excited about bringing this remarkable story to the screen, and, for historical purposes, it is well worth seeing. As far as the entertainment value goes, however, there is little beyond the historical value of the information that makes this stand out. The players are competent, and the sets and costumes are well done. Other than that, there's not much to get excited about here. Hoskins pretty much nails it when he dresses Dench down -- no pun intended -- for being a bored and monied member of the upper class who's out of touch with the real world.
Super Reviewer
July 19, 2006
Most films that take place during World War II always seem to deal with the same themes: love, loss, tragedy and compassion. That gets old. Mrs. Henderson Presents deals with those themes but does so in a very fun and subtle way. Mrs. Henderson has recently lost her husband and inherits a great amount of money. Being rich already, she must find a way to occupy her time and her spare change. She decided to purchase and run a theatre. Well, WWII drags the entire country down to its knees and Mrs. Henderson must find a way to uplift its people. The sweetness of this movie is palpable and the performances by Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins are simply beautiful. The movie's lighthearted approach to the war theme is the right approach to take and make this film that much more effective and connective. NOTE: Male & female frontal nudity throughout. Not that I mind-- but you might.
Super Reviewer
October 16, 2009
Judi Dench gives a sparkling lead performance, but this lesser known Stephen Frears film isn't much more than a period piece.

The setting is London, during the World War II era. Dench plays the real-life title character, a wealthy widow who buys a derelict theater to give herself something to do. She hires a manager (Bob Hoskins) to put together a stage show, and they launch one of those aww-how-cute, bickering relationships. When the show threatens to fail, Mrs. Henderson has the daring idea to add nude girls. She meets bureaucratic resistance from one Lord Cromer (Christopher Guest, surprisingly), but they reach a compromise: the gals can be nude if they remain motionless in the manner of a classy painting or sculpture. From there, the show becomes a great success, especially once England enters the war and young soldiers are looking for nightly entertainment.

All of this works so far, and Frears manages the fine trick of blending witty songs into the action without dampening the story's momentum. But the focus is more on vintage hairstyles and costumes than character development, and the film eventually takes a jarring, abrupt turn from musical comedy into wartime drama. By the end, the sentiment has turned rather corny, and a climactic speech from Henderson is more likely to cause eyerolls than tears.
Super Reviewer
½ January 22, 2006
[font=Century Gothic]"Mrs. Henderson Presents" starts out in 1937. Robert Henderson has just died, thus leaving his wife, Laura(Judi Dench), a huge sum of money and too much time on her hands. She is encouraged to take up a hobby or a charity to while away her time but neither work out well.(Especially the embroidery.) A friend suggests that she is free to make purchases now that nobody is looking over her shoulder anymore. She takes this advice by buying a disused theatre, the Windmill, and hires Vivian Van Damm(Bob Hoskins) to manage it for her. He comes up with the idea of doing a continuous musical review which works out very well until every other theatre copies it. Facing ruin, Laura Henderson comes up with a new idea - nude women onstage...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Mrs. Henderson Presents" is an enjoyably funny movie. Dench(always great) and Hoskins(been too long since he has had such a good part) have wonderful chemistry together. The film is about how people should get involved; enjoy themselves and to not be prudish. The only flaws are that the movie goes out of its way to explain everything and it grandstands a little too much.[/font]
Super Reviewer
½ January 9, 2014
Speaking of Judi Dench, we find her here getting an Oscar nomination simply for being...Judi Dench. Mrs. Henderson decides as a hobby to open a strip club in the pre war London period. An interesting concept but the execution is silly and forgettable.
Super Reviewer
August 10, 2007
A raunchy comedy that delivers all through.
Super Reviewer
½ August 14, 2006
I wanted to see this for Will Young, but ended up falling for Kelly Reilly instead. The 'romance' between Bob Hoskins and Judi Dench doesn't work, but as a portrayal of the blitz spirit, this film more than succeeds. Not as risque as it aims for, it is nonetheless an enjoyable, heartwarmingly tragic film.
Super Reviewer
March 1, 2007
So british. So good.
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2006
A charming, witty and classy musical that has bite and that doesn't feel dusty or overlong. Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins truly shine.
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