6.7/10
18,374
85 user 155 critic

The Lady in the Van (2015)

Trailer
1:59 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

A man forms an unexpected bond with a transient woman living in her van that's parked in his driveway.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (memoir)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Underwood
Clare Hammond ...
Young Margaret Fairchild
George Fenton ...
Conductor
BBC Concert Orchestra ...
The British Symphony Orchestra
...
Jamie Parker ...
Estate Agent
...
...
Richard Griffiths ...
Sam Perry
Pandora Colin ...
...
Giles Perry
...
Actor
Giles Cooper ...
Passer by
Tom Klenerman ...
Tom Perry
Edit

Storyline

The Lady in the Van tells the true story of Alan Bennett's strained friendship with Miss Mary Shepherd, an eccentric homeless woman whom Bennett befriended in the 1970s before allowing her temporarily to park her Bedford van in the driveway of his Camden home. She stayed there for 15 years. As the story develops Bennett learns that Miss Shepherd is really Margaret Fairchild (died 1989), a former gifted pupil of the pianist Alfred Cortot. She had played Chopin in a promenade concert, tried to become a nun, was committed to an institution by her brother, escaped, had an accident when her van was hit by a motorcyclist for which she believed herself to blame, and thereafter lived in fear of arrest.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A mostly true story


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG - 13 for a brief unsettling image | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

26 February 2016 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dama iz dvorišta  »

Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£2,256,121 (UK) (15 November 2015)

Gross:

$10,017,675 (USA) (5 June 2016)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Maggie Smith appeared in one episode of Talking Heads (1987) which was a series written by Alan Bennett. She starred in A Private Function (1984) which was also written by Alan Bennett. See more »

Goofs

In the opening scene the windshield was cracked and had a blood stain. This cracked area and blood stain were much smaller than they were for the rest of the film. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Alan Bennett: [typing] The smell is sweet, with urine only a minor component, the prevalent odor suggesting the inside of someone's ear. Dank clothes are there, too, wet wool and onions, which she eats raw. Plus, what for me has always been the essence of poverty, damp newspaper. Miss Shepherd's multi-flavored aroma is masked by a liberal application of various talcum powders, with Yardley's Lavender always a favorite. And currently it is this genteel fragrance that dominates the second subject, ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the first part of the credits, a young Margaret can be seen playing the piano at her concert in King's Hall. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Countdown: Episode #74.4 (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Impromptu in G Flat Major, Op. 90, No. 3
Composed by Franz Schubert
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A third Oscar for Maggie? Very probable, I'd say.
16 November 2015 | by (Derry, Ireland) – See all my reviews

Like all the best English comedies, the humor in "The Lady in the Van" is founded on character and in eccentricity but then we should expect nothing less from the pen of the great Alan Bennett. This is mostly a true story we are told and it's the story of a very eccentric lady and one, or is it two, quite eccentric men. The lady is Mary, or is it Margaret, Shepherd who might be considered homeless were it not for the van she lives in. The somewhat eccentric man is Bennett himself. I said two because in this case we get two Bennetts for the price of one, Alan the writer and Alan the householder and they are both played by Alex Jennings.

Miss Shepherd really existed and she's the lady who, at Bennett's request. moved her van from the street outside his house, where she had parked it, into his driveway. Initially she was due to stay a few months but ended up parking there for 15 years. Bennett turned the story of her stay first into a novella and then into a play and now, under the direction of Nicholas Hytner, into a film and a beautiful job he's made of it.

Of course, for the purpose of dramatic and comic effect Mr Bennett has taken liberties, adding bits here and there including a delightful phantasmagorical ending. He also surrounds himself and Miss Shepherd with a host of other characters, some almost as eccentric as they are. Recreating the part she played on stage Maggie Smith is magnificent in the title role. Of course, you could say Maggie has been playing variations of Jean Brodie for the past 45 years. It's easy to see Miss Brodie in the put-downs of the Dowager, Countess of Grantham had Jean been born into a different generation or class and it's not much of a step to see Miss Shepherd as an older, very much down-on-her-luck Jean Brodie. A third Oscar is certainly not out of the question.

Jennings, too, has Bennett off to a tee and there's lovely support from the likes of Frances De La Tour, Roger Allam and Deborah Findlay as sundry neighbors while the entire cast of Bennett's "The History Boys" manage to pop up in one form or another. If it feels slighter than some of Bennett's other offerings it may simply be because here he is writing about someone we would probably pass in the street without looking twice at. Of course, if on meeting Miss Shepherd in the street we knew what we know now, we might indeed give her a second or even a third glance; we might even invite her to move her van into our driveway. Slight? Not a bit of it.


46 of 58 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Here We Go: Welcome to "The IMDb Show"

Kevin Smith weighs in on Justice League and the future of DC and Marvel, and answers fan questions. Plus, we battle with fans over who played the greatest Batman of all time.

Here we go