The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
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Led by a marvelous performance from Maggie Smith, Lady in the Van wrings poignant, often hilarious insight from its fact-based source material.
All Critics (144)
| Top Critics (39)
| Fresh (127)
| Rotten (17)
| DVD (1)
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.
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.
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.
There's an elegiac, sentimental quality to this film adaptation, from the manipulative meet-cute of Alan and Miss Shepherd through their disputations.
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.
The joy of the film comes in watching Smith work her magic.
Overall, this warm gem is energized by the captivating Smith that instills this beleaguered Brit bag lady with indescribable exuberance.
he Lady in the Van offers more fourth wall-breaking narrative devices than a Tarantino fever dream, but since we're never that invested in the characters or the story, it doesn't add up to anything but a self-satisfied distraction.
"The Lady in the Van" stars Maggie Smith. That almost says it all.
At its best, The Lady in the Van exposes the hypocritical, torn feelings many of us experience around the homeless, old age, and how women are 'supposed' to be.
The similar lightning-in-a-bottle formula to Philomena doesn't quite pan out here - feeling nagging and bothersome instead.
This real cinematic pleasure is one of the best British films of the year.
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.
An elegant and amusing drama. This sweet movie is slow but the wonderfully talented Smith carries it through to the end!
Is it possible that all the pieces of a work come together beautifully and still the work is "meh?" Based on a true story of a homeless woman who parked and lived in a guy's driveway for 15 years, everything is well done here. It's inventive as all get out. And yet ... nothing explodes in your face. Is that even a criticism? I loved it, but ...
The Lady in the Van is first and foremost a star vehicle (no pun intended) built around Maggie Smith's performance. She puts on the part like a comfortable old sweater. That describes this trifling slice of life to a T. It's cozy. The joy is watching thespians Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings in one amusing tête-à-tête after another. Their personalities clash and mesh at various points - she a grouchy curmudgeon, he a finicky chap that talks to himself. The discovery is what we learn about these two characters as the years pass. The drama is slight, charming and oh-so-British.
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