Monday, July 17, 2006

Ladies in Lavender (2004)

Charles Dance’s gentle drama is a fine showcase for two of the world’s best actresses – Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. It is the dames that make this a film worth watching.

The film tells s the tale of two sisters living in 1930’s Cornwall, who discover a young man washed up on the beach. They nurse him back to health and discover he has a talent for playing the violin. The story is thin and so it takes until half-way through the film for it to become truly engaging. Despite this, the strong performances keep us interested during the film’s duller moments.

Judi Dench and Maggie Smith both shine in their roles. Dame Judi gets the meatier of the roles, as the sister who is most affected by the stranger’s arrival. Daniel Brühl is charming as the stranger and equally strong support is provided by Miriam Margoyles as the sisters’ maid.

The direction is at times a little jarring – some strange use of slow motion, for example, but overall it’s a strong first effort from Charles Dance. Dance makes the best of the lush scenery, which adds greatly to the film’s look and feel.

Naturally, music features heavily in the film and the violin pieces chosen are beautiful. They’re masterfully played by Joshua Bell on the soundtrack, while Daniel Brühl plays along perfectly on film.

This film is perfect viewing for a lazy Sunday afternoon - not too exciting and not too taxing on the grey matter, but enjoyable nonetheless.


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