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Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005)

  Directed by: Stephen Frears
Written by: Martin Sherman
Starring: Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins
Links: Mrs. Henderson Presents on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on DVD
Genre: Comedy

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005) is also mentioned in pearly's review of Capote (2005).

"A surprising delight" - a review by pearly

Mrs. Henderson Presents surprised me. It surprised me not because I expected it to be dull, and it was actually okay, but because I expected it to be okay, but it was a fair bit better than okay, largely due to the presence of Judi Dench.

It's war-time London, and Mrs. Henderson (Dench) has recently been a widow. And she couldn't be more bored with her new life. After trying fruitlessly to fit in with the other widows and their pointless lives, Henderson goes out and buys The Windmill, a theatre on the West End. It is here that she comes into her own, shocking the masses by staging productions which include the use of naked women on stage.

On the surface, this film seems like a fun bit of fluff, and for the most part, that's what it is. Dench plays the same kind of upper class character to which she has become fairly accustomed, and the introduction of Bob Hoskins to the narrative as Vivian Van Damm, Henderson's theatre manager, provides her with someone to bounce off of. For this alone, the film would be worthy of a viewing, as the pair are magnificent. But what I didn't expect from Mrs. Henderson Presents was the deeper side of the story - the serious side of the tale which touched my heart and made me throw away my earlier perceptions of what this film was.

By the closing credits, Dench, with the help of the rest of the cast, has turned Mrs. Henderson into a real, three dimensional, complicated woman. This sneaks up on you, and you don't really expect to see anything other than the snooty old woman that the film first introduces, but watching the first three quarters of the film is all a lead-up to the pay-off that comes in its last half an hour or less.

I have often enjoyed British films for just the two hours that they're up on screen, and no more, but Mrs. Henderson Presents is a cut above, and I really did enjoy it more than I expected I would, which is always nice.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Mon 29 May 2006

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