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Ladies in Lavender 2004
Description: Andrea, a gifted young Polish violinist from Krakow, is bound for America when he is swept overboard by a storm. When the Widdington sisters explore the handsome stranger on the beach below their house, they nurse him back to health. However, the presence of the musically talented young boy disrupts the peaceful lives of Ursula and Janet and the community in which they live.
Released: 27 May 2005 Director: Charles Dance Writers: William J. Locke (short story), Charles Dance Actors: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Daniel Brühl, Freddie Jones Genres: Drama, Music, Romance
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Ladies in Lavender Reviews:

Short stories often create better movies than full novels as is evident in the situation of JD Locke's 'Ladies in Lavender' as adapted for the screen and directed by the multi-talented Charles Dance. Given the barest outline of a quiet tiny concept of a 'fairy tale', LADIES IN LAVENDER becomes an unfolding meditation of quiet lives altered by an incident that awakens sleeping needs and emotions.Ursula (Judi Dench) and Janet (Maggie Smith) are elderly sisters living a quiet life of gardening, strolling the cliffs and beach of Cornwall, knitting, and reading. Their bumpy housekeeper Dorcas (Miriam Margolyes) cooks, cleans, shops, and chatters in a unbelievable Cornish brogue, allowing the sisters to live an otherwise isolated life - isolated from history, private emotions, and vulnerabilities. After a storm Ursula spies a figure on the beach below their home and the two descend to search an unconscious handsome young boy whom they rescue, house, nurture, mend a broken ankle and ultimately become doting adorers. The young boy Andrea (Daniel Brühl) finally awakens, speaks no English as he is Polish, and his charming methods attract inner emotions in both sisters. Janet studies some German and is able to speak with Andreas, while Ursula pastes English words on stuff in his room to teach him English. He mends and it is discovered that he is a concert violinist who was shipwrecked while striving to go to America. A Russian visitor to the town, Olga (Natascha McElhone), the requisite 'evil witch' for a fairy tale, hears Andreas play, informs him she has a cousin who is a popular violinist, and attracts him away from Cornwall to London where he ultimately gives his own concert.Those are the bare facts of the film's story. The magic lies not in the storyline itself but in the submerged feelings of the two sisters. Ursula, having never been in love in her youth, falls in love with Andrea, totally aware that there is no chance of consummation. She feels long desired emotional attachment to the lad and the stirring in her breast is overwhelming to her. Janet, who once loved but lost that love to death, likewise falls for Andrea. It is this sibling rivalry over the passion for Andrea that provides some of the most touching and understated brilliant acting moments ever recorded on film. There is a stage where, resting from a stroll on the cliffs, Andrea rests with his head on Ursula's lap, perhaps the first physical contact with a boy she has ever known, and the gentility of the slow and reticent placement of her hand on Andrea's resting head is a crystal of acting magic. How the sisters cope with this time with Andrea and his eventual leaving for his career is the climax of the film. And touching and understated it is.Judi Dench and Maggie Smith give pitch excellent characterizations, creating two lovely beings we will never forget. Likewise Daniel Brühl is magnificent in a role far various from his usual German repertoire (Goodbye Lenin!, The Edukators, Love in Thoughts) and manages to make the illusion that he is now testing the violin (while the real artist is Joshua Bell in some stunning performances). The atmosphere of Cornwall is magically captured by Dance and his cinematographer Peter Biziou with assistance from Ed Rutherford. Nigel Hess has written a musical score, incorporating well-known classical violin works as well as his own hauntingly pretty melody that adds immeasurably to the film's success.LADIES IN LAVENDER is not a major blockbuster of a success nor does it test to be. It is simply a exquisitely crafted and acted fairy tale that gently reminds us that age does not prevent the heart from responding to that most pretty of emotions, Love. Highly recommended. Grady Harp


This movie bursts into life in a several electrifying scenes - but these scenes are perhaps muted by the general leisurely air of the whole.What can be told is that this movie belongs to Maggie Smith: although Judi Dench has the lovelorn role of the smitten sister, it is Dame Maggie who has the wider tons of emotions, the presence, and the charisma which gives the movie the energy it needs to involve the viewer. A situation in mission is the stage where Dame Judi has her mission of emotional release - and Dame Maggie tops it with just the slightest nuance of phrase. Indeed, hers is a performance of subtlety and delicacy, so understated and insightful, that it recalls the outstanding work that she did in "The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne". If it was up to me, Dame Maggie would be right up there in contention for the Oscar and BAFTA. She is, of course, perfectly paired with Dame Judi, who creates a portrayal of both pathos and charm. There is such rapport between the two that it wipes away memories of the caricatures of "Tea With Mussolini" and replaces it with genuine truth and humanity. The two dames are underscored by the comic bluster of Miriam Margolyes and the suspicious lusting of David Warner. This is a movie of emotion and elegance. If it lacks narrative drive and dynamic then it is more than made up for by the zone created for the talents of the actors. It is a movie which lives on in the memory - and for that we mainly have to thank the performance of Maggie Smith.


For some reason, I dvr'd this film the another day, because I love the Dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench. I didn't watch it until last night. I started at 1am and watched the entire thing, even though I was exhausted. I am an old romantic.At the beginning, my mate and I just couldn't figure out what was wrong with Ursula and we figured out she was falling in love with the boy. Wow! It was so obvious after a while, and I reminisced about the time I fell in love with someone so much younger than me. It was a treat to see Maggie Smith, trying to protect and comfort her sister in her obvious agony of the just impossible love she was feeling for the boy. How sad.The end was a poignant and subtle end to a fabulous SHORT story. I now thought they were in the islands off the southern coast.. I trust they are Jersey.. (like "The Others", and didn't realize it was pre-WWII, hence the tip at all of the Britons suspicions of Germans at the time.What a fabulous story. I absolutely loved it!.



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