Ladies in Lavender

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 91


Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,057
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Movie Info

Two aging spinster sisters have their peaceable Cornwall existence disrupted in 1936 when they take a young Polish violinist into their care. After a particularly violent storm, Ursula and Janet Widington awake to find young man Andrea half-drowned and badly injured on the beach. They slowly discover that he is a Polish Jew with a gift for music as an accomplished violinist, hoping to find his way to America. But the village isn't used to visitors and everyone, with the exception of the sisters, is full of suspicions, especially when Andrea develops a friendship with a beautiful Russian woman vacationing nearby. Eventually, the two must make a choice between trying to keep their new charge for themselves or setting him free in the world.

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Critic Reviews for Ladies in Lavender

All Critics (91) | Top Critics (31) | Fresh (58) | Rotten (33)

Audience Reviews for Ladies in Lavender

  • Dec 25, 2011
    Excellent performances by the two Dames and Miriam Margolyes was hilarious as always. Every part she plays she seems to fit into perfectly. Anyone who ever had elderly aunts living together would see them reincarnated as Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. The interplay of the sisters' (Dench and Smith) personalities both within their household and with village characters and with their housekeeper was beautifully portrayed. It's true that some events are never explained fully, but I thought there was considerable psychological depth to the film. 'Ladies in Lavender', stars two stalwarts of British stage and screen, Maggie Smith and Judi Dench. They play sisters, Janet and Ursula, who live in a house on the cliffs in Cornwall. One night during a storm they discover a young man washed up on the beach below. Ensconced in their spare room, speaking no English, with a broken ankle he's the most exciting thing to happen in the women's lives in decades and Ursula develops a crush on him. Andrea who's played by Daniel Bruehl of Goodbye Lenin fame turns out to be a talented musician, stirring the interest of a German artist Olga (Natasha McElhone) who's staying nearby. The magnificent Cornish scenery should leave no doubt as to why people, artists especially have always been attracted there. The Cornish setting was breathtaking and the music glorious. The acting, the late 30's household setting, the village details, the music make this a superb story. This is not a film for teenagers. The emotional tenor of this film is absolutely haunting and exactly right for anyone of a certain maturity. It's a movie that explored in a subtle way themes of loss, love, ageing and that portrayed life and community from a bygone era. It's a very poignant and moving film. The flick gives a very lovely and sad insight into one woman's unfullfilled dreams of love and her grief. It was a delicate study about the denial of love which the two dames carried off superbly. The strength of this film was what was left unsaid -- there was enough given away to make one think about the deep emotions running just below the surface. Albeit the story has some holes in it, and is a bit cheesy at times but what is going on internally for Usrula (Dench) is protrayed subtely yet powerfully enough to carry the film.
    Cinema F Super Reviewer
  • Mar 20, 2011
    'If music be the language of love, play on!' Absolutely beautiful film with superb acting and great photography...Who could be better than Dench and Smith...a treat to the eyes and a plus for acting. Both Judi Dench and Maggie Smith did excellent in portraying love and jealousy. It is amazing that by just one look on the face, you can tell how the characters are thinking.Superb fingering on the violin from an actor who, prior to this movie, had never touched one - you'd swear he was really playing. It is very strong in both story telling and in acting. The story telling is subtle by the acting is so direct. "Ladies in Lavender" draws me, captivates me and touches me. I think this film deserves a wider audience. Now that I've seen the film, I want to move to Cornwall and live between the pubs and the ocean dancing and dreaming all day.....
    Arianeta L Super Reviewer
  • Aug 22, 2010
    It doesn't take us any effort to understand the genuine fascination created by the mysterious and handsome young man played by Daniel Brühl, but this unremarkable British drama is only worth it for the superb performances by Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 15, 2008
    yeh, it's kinda alright. it aint boring anyway. one of those feel good features. dench and smith are well... seasoned actresses and it's really needless to say how great they are... as they're sure to be in anything at all. the most engaging character was the fat old maid played by miriam margolyes. it's basic and obvious at times but has its charm
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer

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