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The Lady In the Van

HD   PG-13 Closed Captioning AD

Nicholas Hytner

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About the Movie

Based on the true story of Miss Shepherd (played by a magnificent Maggie Smith), a woman of uncertain origins “temporarily” parks her van in Alan Bennett’s (Alex Jennings) London driveway and proceeds to live there for 15 years. What begins as a begrudged favor becomes a relationship that will change both their lives. Acclaimed director Nicholas Hytner reunites with iconic writer Alan Bennett to create this rare and touching portrait.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 141
  • Fresh: 126
  • Rotten: 15
  • Average Rating: 7.2/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Smith's performance is not only virtuosic but indispensable in grounding the various loose threads of the story. – David Wiegand, San Francisco Chronicle, Feb 3, 2016

Fresh: The film is based on actual events in the life of British writer-personality Alan Bennett that he turned into a book in 1989, a play in 1999, and now a film directed by Nicholas Hytner. You might call this beating a dead horse. The English call it thrift. – Ty Burr, Boston Globe, Jan 28, 2016

Fresh: There's no use fending off the force of nature that is Smith. Sensitive and formidable, self-deprecating and brave, she elevates every role she's in, as we know by now. – Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Jan 21, 2016

Fresh: It's about the boundless talents of Maggie Smith, sometimes chewing up the screen, sometimes saying volumes simply by sitting very, very still, with a perfectly perfect expression on her face. – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times, Jan 21, 2016

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews


i couldn’t finish watching it. completely boring

Wish I hadn’t watched

Struggle for me to watch since I’m 79 and alone with the same fears as the homeless Mary/Margaret. Good performances didn’t offset the tragedy of this true story of a brilliant concert pianist destroyed by her convent experience and a cold brother. I’m a writer, too, but I felt using her story was more exploitative than kind. Younger viewers might not be so critical but I regret viewing it.

A poignant little film...

Maggie Smith plays a wonderfully complex, stubborn, human character in Mary Shepherd — an elderly woman who lived in a van parked, in a driveway, in London, for 15 years. Told very much in the format of a diary, this moving, funny, quirky picture will make you laugh and cry. Wonderful!

The Lady In the Van
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  • $7.99
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Released: 2015

Customer Ratings