Mrs. Henderson Presents (2006)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins shine in this warm, witty period piece.

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Movie Info

A recently widowed eccentric with money to burn and no intentions of settling down enlists the aide of a showbiz professional to transform a run-down theater in Soho into London's most innovative entertainment hot spot in director Stephen Frears' cinematic account of the groundbreaking Windmill Theater. The year is 1937 and, despite having recently lost her husband, 69-year-old Laura Henderson (Judy Dench) remains as ambitious and vital as ever. Aghast at her friend Lady Conway's (Thelma Barlow) suggestion that she take up a mundane hobby such as diamond collecting to pass the time, Mrs. Henderson instead shocks her well-to-do social circle by purchasing the ramshackle Windmill Theater in the heart of downtown Soho. Unafraid to take a risk in the venture, yet lacking the experience needed to run the theater, Mrs. Henderson brings in showbiz veteran Vivian Van Damm (Bob Hoskins) to line up an opening act that will set the stage ablaze. When the ever-curious Mrs. Henderson's intrusive spying begins to impede on Mr. Van Damm's creative progress, the frustrated theater manager has her banished from rehearsals. Though Van Damm's innovative idea to stage an unending stream of entertainment dubbed "Revudeville" proves a wild and profitable success, the Windmill begins to suffer when other local theaters quickly follow suit. Now faced with the prospect of seeing her once-lucrative endeavor fall by the wayside due to the unoriginality of the copycats who surround her, Mrs. Henderson decides to show audiences something they've never seen before by making the Windmill the first theater to feature nude female entertainers live on-stage. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Rating:
R (for nudity and brief language)
Genre:
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:

Cast

Judi Dench
as Laura Henderson
Bob Hoskins
as Vivian Van Damm
William Young
as Bertie
Will Young
as Bertie
Kelly Reilly
as Maureen
Thelma Barlow
as Lady Conway
Christopher Guest
as Lord Cromer
Toby Jones
as Gordon
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Critic Reviews for Mrs. Henderson Presents

All Critics (139) | Top Critics (40)

No excerpt available.

May 12, 2009
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | October 17, 2008
NPR.org
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | October 31, 2007
Newsweek
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 26, 2007
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

November 23, 2006
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Mrs. Henderson Presents

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.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

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.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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