From the Video Shop: Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont

Neil Turner

2005 - United Kingdom - 108 minutes

Writer - Ruth Sacks from a novel by writer, Elizabeth Taylor

Director - Dan Ireland

Internet Movie Database User Rating - 7.3/10 - Link to IMDb

Roger Ebert's Rating - 3 of 4 Stars - Link to Ebert's Review

My Rating - 5 of 5 Stars

This film has everything - unique locations - lovable, quirky characters - a heartfelt story - honest, understated directing - superior acting.

Mrs. Palfrey is an elderly lady who decides to spend some time in a residence hotel in London. There she leads a pleasant but lonely life looking back upon her life and memories of her deceased husband - her one true love. She has a grandson in London, but he doesn't even pay the courtesy of returning his grandmother's phone calls.

One day, Mrs. Palfrey falls on the sidewalk outside the apartment of a young man, Ludovic Meyer, who immediately comes to her rescue. He is a handsome, charming failed writer who has recently been abandoned by his girlfriend because he won't follow a more practical lifestyle.

There is almost an immediate bond between Mrs. Palfrey and Ludovic. To her, Ludovic is a substitute for her absent grandson and, more importantly, a reminder of her late husband. To him, Mrs. Palfrey is an intelligent woman who understands his art and his struggle for his art and, more importantly, a substitute for an unusual, distant mother. They share each other's memories and dreams.

Surrounding the two main characters is a plethora of personalities in the supporting characters - most of whom are other residents at the Claremont. All of the actors in the film create intriguing, unforgettable people, but Joan Plowright and Rupert Friend as the leads are extraordinary.

This little film is a joy to watch and a very important reminder of the need and necessity for true and supporting connections between human beings of all ages.

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Harvard Square Commentary, January 1, 2007