The Lady In The Van

Critics Consensus

Led by a marvelous performance from Maggie Smith, Lady in the Van wrings poignant, often hilarious insight from its fact-based source material.



Total Count: 148


Audience Score

User Ratings: 16,423
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Movie Info

This film tells the true story of the relationship between Alan Bennett and the singular Miss Shepherd, a woman of uncertain origins who 'temporarily' parked her van in Bennett's London driveway and proceeded to live there for 15 years.

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Maggie Smith
as Miss Shepherd
Alex Jennings
as Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett
as Alan Bennett
James Corden
as Street Trader
Frances De La Tour
as Mrs. Vaughn Williams
Dominic Cooper
as Theatre Actor
Jim Broadbent
as Underwood
Samuel Anderson
as Jehovah's Witness
Pandora Colin
as Fiona Perry
Nicholas Burns
as Giles Perry
David Calder
as Leo Fairchild
Marion Bailey
as Housekeeper At Convent
Cecilia Noble
as Miss Briscoe - Social Worker
Claire Foy
as Lois - Social Worker
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Critic Reviews for The Lady In The Van

All Critics (148) | Top Critics (41)

  • She's not easy to love and the film is slow-going and a little laboured in its attempts to shape her idiosyncrasies into a plot, but the gradual revelation of the reasons for her decline give Smith plenty of opportunities to soften her grouchiness.

    Mar 4, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Bennett offers Maggie Smith a chance to renovate her own recent persona with a woman who's heroically alive. Smith takes it with both hands, giving us more of the loneliness and despair of old age than the glib comedy.

    Mar 4, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Jennings' portrayal isn't as flashy as Smith's - the things she can do with just a glance - but the balance they achieve is absolutely glorious.

    Feb 12, 2016 | Rating: B | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic
  • There's an elegiac, sentimental quality to this film adaptation, from the manipulative meet-cute of Alan and Miss Shepherd through their disputations.

    Feb 5, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • You leave "Lady in the Van" entertained but troubled; it's an agreeably but oddly off-balance film, juggling and nearly dropping the star turn at its center.

    Feb 4, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The joy of the film comes in watching Smith work her magic.

    Feb 4, 2016 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Lady In The Van

  • Jun 07, 2016
    Anthony L Super Reviewer
  • Jun 06, 2016
    Lady In The Van is the true story of a woman who lives on a man's driveway for 15 years. Sounds boring? Quite the opposite! This is an entertaining sweet film that actually has some funny moments as well some sadder times. Maggie Smith delivers yet another fantastic performance, let's face it she can do no wrong! I did however find that the majority of the film was rather forgettable and felt like the film was just abit too sweet for my taste. The script was decent though and that prevented the film from being a disaster.
    Luke A Super Reviewer
  • May 02, 2016
    The biggest problem with this witless, excruciating movie is that it feels almost impossible to have any sympathy for such an odious old lady (is she supposed to be adorable in her annoying eccentricity? I can't tell), and I couldn't wait to see her die so it would be finally over.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 14, 2016
    An elegant and amusing drama. This sweet movie is slow but the wonderfully talented Smith carries it through to the end!
    Film C Super Reviewer

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