Play, Pause of Eject? Film Review of The Lady in the Van

In our world, any movie with Maggie Smith is one to watch without question. As a member of our group said only 5 minutes into The Lady in the Van, “she has more talent in her little finger than most do in their entire body.”

Queen of Facial Expressions

This role reinforces Maggie Smith‘s reign as the queen of telling facial expressions. Like few other actresses of our time, she often says more without uttering a single word. Her pinched brow or twist of the mouth can express dire displeasure in a way that no script could possibly convey.

The Lady in the Van is an extreme departure from her near-royal stature as the dowager countess in Downton Abbey. In fact, watching her play a troubled elderly woman living out of a van is a deeply unsettling experience. However, we definitely recognize that her ability to portray a completely polar character is all the more to her credit.

Reasons to Pause Movie

While struggling with the rough edges of Miss Shepherd, some viewers may take issue and find other reasons to pause this movie. All members of our group found the heavy accents and poor sound quality an impediment to following the story. In addition, the narrator’s simultaneous appearance as someone trying to live life versus the one who writes about it is visually confusing, although some might relate to the concept!

In general, The Lady in the Van is a painful yet all too real movie to watch. The film raises important points about those willing to step forward, even reluctantly as Mr. Bennett does, to look out for an elderly person in need. Despite his uneasiness, Mr. Bennett is still present to witness Miss Shepherd’s many indignities and serves as a type of guardian, as she takes up residence in his driveway for 15 years.

Play, Pause or Eject This Film?

Should you play, pause or eject this film before the final moment? Artsphoria’s group pressed play but needed a few pauses for constant questions while watching The Lady in the Van.

Let us know your reactions, and why you agree or disagree.


Andrea Hammer
About Andrea Hammer 282 Articles
Andrea Karen Hammer is the founder, director and owner of Artsphoria Publishing, Media Group & Shop ( Artsphoria International Magazine (; Artsphoria Movie Reviews & Film Forum (; Artsphoria: Arts, Business & Technology Center (; Artsphoria Event Advertising & Reporting (; Artsphoria: Food for the Soul (; Artsphoria Animation & Imagination World ( and Artsphoria Shop ( She is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer who has published articles in international publications.

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