Mrs. Henderson Presents (2006)
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as Laura Henderson
as Vivian Van Damm
as Lady Conway
as Lord Cromer
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Critic Reviews for Mrs. Henderson Presents
Though nudity will keep this from being a family film, for those who love the family of the theater, this postcard from its past is worth framing in your heart.
If you're attracted to movies whose charms involve recollecting simpler times, Mrs. Henderson will do nicely.
The greatest pleasure of Mrs. Henderson Presents is watching two of the grandest British lions taking their talents for a long walk.
A lively period piece elevated by a winning pair of leads.
The role of Mrs. Henderson may not have been written with Judi Dench in mind, but it's hard to imagine who else might slip into the part so effectively.
Audience Reviews for Mrs. Henderson Presents
The Windmill Theater in London was infamous for shaking up that famous British stiff upper lip with their girly revues and bawdy shows, and that story is told here (however informed by Hollywood musicals). So the background story is laid out about a rich society widow sponsoring an showbiz venture, unusual in Britain upper circles, and the eventual success of that venture, but the real film lies in the re-creation of the stage shows put on in those years. The whole is not bad, yet lacking the bite the real story, a British story, of the impact, humanity and courage even prostitutes must've had during the wartime blitz. For a work purportedly celebrating those people, this film shies away from who those people were.
The recently widowed Mrs. Henderson has no idea what to do with her life and her vast amount of cash. Her friend suggests she gets herself a hobby, and after pricking her finger doing some embroidery she instead decides to buy a rundown theatre. She hires theatre manager Bob Hoskins to take over and run a musical review which all goes fine and dandy until everyone copies them. They decide to do something more daring and so have nudes on the stage. The film has the classical polite British putdowns and absurd but brilliant satirical moments. The nudes are not allowed to move, because then it's art. The musical numbers are quite fun and inventive and the verbal fisticuffs between Dench and Hoskins is brilliant. They each give us a warm but strict character and there is a lot of chemistry, which makes it even more interesting when the film shrugs off the romance angle between the pair. In the latter half after the war kicks off the film inevitably loses some of its warm colourful charm, but reflects the time period accordingly. A great supporting cast, especially Guest in a hilarious role, bring alive those little moments. A joyful feel good movie that gives a lot of heart.
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