The Lady In The Van

 (4,953)6.71 h 43 min2016X-RayPG-13
Maggie Smith plays Miss Shepherd, a woman who “temporarily” parks her van in a man's driveway and proceeds to live there for 15 years.
Nicholas Hytner
Maggie SmithAlex JenningsJim Broadbent
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Frances De La TourRoger AllamDeborah FindlayGwen TaylorPandora ColinNicholas BurnsDavid CalderMarion BaileyCecilia NobleDan RazakClaire Foy
Kevin LoaderNicholas HytnerDamian Jones
Sony Pictures Classics
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Foul languageviolence
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4.3 out of 5 stars

4953 global ratings

  1. 67% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 14% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 9% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 4% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 5% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Linnaeus C. ShecutReviewed in the United States on December 9, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
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This movie is one of the best uses of the medium. It walks a tightrope between comedy and tragedy. Maggie Smith is consumate as the homeless old woman living in a van in Camden Town, London. A newly successful, somewhat closeted, writer finds himself in dialogue with his more rational self concerning her proximity. Without contrivance, one is brought near tears by Maggie Smith's protrayal of a dying, repentant woman. The Blu-ray transfer is beautiful. My only complaint is that one has to marshal through several trailers before reaching the feature film. If you or a friend is dealing with an invalid relative, this movie may be uncomfortable. You may find yourself reflecting upon it for days following. If you admire the work of Maggie Smith, then this movie should be in your video library.
46 people found this helpful
Margaret OpineReviewed in the United States on July 31, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
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IF YOU LIKE THIS ONE THEN YOU CERTAINLY NEED TO SEE '''LADIES IN LAVENDER''''...a movie made just by chance and if you want to know the truth....i have a video and have watched it about one hundred times at my lunch time. (I have a home office.) It was like taking a pill. I want my children to watch that movie because it is so real; so well done, It's about two old sisters who live together but ore like able bodied people: partners. I dreamed that the movie was going to be me and my sister but that was no where near our reality.
I'm old (er) now and I'm suppose to doing a first draft of a book based on a character like me. And I love '''The Lady In The Van''' because Maggie's character is very much like me but I still live in my house and drive my car. But I am '''crotchety" at times like this old lady. Most of the time I am nice, cute-like....I got my little old lady persona down pat and it works for me most of the time. I am a nice person. * I still identified with this character and I thought there was not enough information provided as to how she got herself into that way and attitude but she was old. It would have been nice to hear about her loves.

THE LADY IN THE VAN timeless and it it ageless. It is like a mirror for (some) old people to look at but sad or sadness and pity....HELL NO!!!!....every body gets old if you are blessed with a long life. And when you have lived long there is just no possibility to be sad,even lonely or pitiful.
24 people found this helpful
Nina Nina Bo BinaReviewed in the United States on May 4, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Vans, poo, mental illness and beautiful dialogue!!
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Loved it -- What a charming movie... but not in a quaint sort of manner. Maggie Smith does a wonderful job of portraying Margaret, sometimes called Mary, a homeless and extremely religious woman who was once a well-educated and classically trained pianist. An incident in her past continues to haunt her and keeps her trapped in a world of delusions and paranoia. This is a brilliant glimpse of life and mental illness as presented through the narrative of a playwright, Alan, who observes rather than interacts with his world. Margaret ends up moving her van into his garden and Alan won’t say no. Together, this very odd couple, with his introversion and her eccentric behaviors, create a memorable relationship no one would have imagined. The ensuing dialogue is lively, entertaining and memorable. I'm very happy I stumbled across this "mostly true story". I thought it was well written and beautifully performed.
89 people found this helpful
GinnymaeReviewed in the United States on August 8, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
Boring an Slow Moving
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Maggie Smith was excellent as usual but her character was so unlikeable that I was glad when she died. I was in bed with a fever or I would never have finished this. There was absolutely no sense of gratitude or thankfulness. It was gross too with all the talk of her going to the bathroom anywhere. Of course there was political correctness as the main character came out of the closet at the end.
There were many fine actors in this that were recognizable from other British productions. Even that wouldn’t make me recommend this. The many positive reviews must be from people who love to be depressed.
4 people found this helpful
David E. BaldwinReviewed in the United States on May 30, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Superb Performances Drive "Van"
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If not mistaken this film was promoted as a comedy which would do it a disservice. Certainly there are some amusing bits on display but for the most part the humor is drawn from the pathos of the human condition. The film concerns a psychically wounded elderly woman (Maggie Smith) who parks her disheveled van in the driveway of a sarcastic playwright (Alex Jennings). One could argue that Allen allows Mary to essentially squat on his property out of sheer altruism but he is too much the cynic to lump himself with his liberal neighbors who ply the poor soul with food and Christmas presents but secretly wish she would move on. Unresolved mother issues could also be a factor but even that is ambiguous. Or possibly Allen is looking for inspiration for his next magnum opus but one can't be certain. Writer Allen Bennett has crafted an intricate script that succinctly encapsulates the human condition. Maggie Smith is an absolute treasure here as Mary imbuing her character with interesting quirks without dispensing with her dignity. Smith is matched by a superb turn by Jennings who expertly demonstrates the conflicts within Allen. The Brits seem to have a knack for making these great human stories an art form lost in this CGI age.
29 people found this helpful
sam BookerReviewed in the United States on February 20, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
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Not redemptive in any form and the van lady was not likeable in any way. Terrible film and characters. Excellent acting of course.
10 people found this helpful
Amante dei GattiReviewed in the United States on July 18, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Poignant Movie That Will Leave You Changed
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This is a poignant look into the intimate life of an elderly homeless woman living for 15 years in a van--it addresses in somewhat raw detail all the indignities of homelessness, from the smell of an unwashed person to what to do with human waste. It is SLOW MOVING, so if you're looking for something to get your heart racing, look elsewhere. And it is NOT even close to a comedy!!! (WHO in his right mind would call this a comedy?!?) Maggie Smith is every bit as believable and regal in this role as she is in Downton Abbey--homeless she may be, but she is still proud and sophisticated. (I'll have to say the reveal of the lead male actor's being gay at the end really adds nothing to the movie; not sure why it was added, but anyway....) The movie leaves you to wonder how we could be so callous as to ignore the homeless all around us--in this case for 15 years. Something is broken in our society if we could allow this to happen. There has to be a way to help people retain their dignity but provide them the help they need. Food for thought, anyway.
3 people found this helpful
Mr. NormanReviewed in the United States on May 30, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Like life it's a movie that seems to exist with no beginning and no end.
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Like life it's a movie that seems to exist with no beginning and no end. Yet, all things do have a beginning and do have an end. The paradox of this film is that it immerses you in a situation while also somehow taking you on a journey.
Its continual succession of surprising unexpected clear realized moments is what makes the film so stunning. Almost any scene is brilliant, and the film is chock-filled with them. At first it may seem as a hodge-podge. But as it continues, it becomes an evolving ongoing immersion into life.
Did i mention that Maggie Smith is exquisite. In it she puts together many of the pieces of that brilliant large character she has played the parts of for decades into one perfect performance.
In the end (for the film does end -- ever so gently and beautifully) it is so true to life that you'll feel you lived it.
And you'll love it, too.
25 people found this helpful
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