WORTH A LOOK?: *****
WHERE: Greenwich Picturehouse
RELEASED IN THE UK: 2/5/18
Each is a Dame, they are all in their ninth decades and have met regularly at Joan Plowright’s countryside retreat since they got to know each other many years ago.
- Read on for reasons including which Dame returns to the West End this autumn
Plowright, Smith, Dench and Atkins have a shared history in theatre and films going back so many years that when they meet their conversation is easy, frank and often very funny.
This 90-minute film is a record of their conversation as they look back over their careers which features much archive footage as well as candour.
Plowright was married to Laurence Olivier until his death in 1989 and Smith recalls here crossing swords with him including a time when he hit her on stage: ‘It was the only time I saw stars at the National (Theatre).’
Asked what advice they would give their younger selves, Dench’s response is heartbreaking.
We watched this film in a matinee showing with an older cinema audience and it was unusual to hear how heartily it was greeted with gales of laughter.
The women are as candid about how age has affected them (there are multiple mentions of hearing aids) but also how little truck they have with those whose concern is overbearing (Dench gives short shrift to a paramedic who asks her where her carer is after she was stung on the bottom).
We love a good theatrical anecdote and this joyful film is absolutely jam-packed with them. Atkins returns to the West End this autumn. Tickets