Ladies in Lavender
During the 1930s, two elderly sisters living on the English coast (Judi Dench and Maggie Smith) find their cozy, spinsterish existence disrupted when a young Polish castaway (Daniel Brühl) is washed up half-drowned on the beach near their cottage. Written and directed by actor Charles Dance, the film is adapted from a short story by William J. Locke. And that’s the problem—it feels exactly like a modest little character vignette stretched out beyond its natural dimensions. Also, there’s an air of foreboding to the story that seems a little out of place. Still, Dance has a good eye for detail, an expert supporting cast (Miriam Margolyes, David Warner and Natascha McElhone)—and, of course, Dench and Smith themselves, who play to (and enhance) one another’s strengths like the virtuosi they are.