Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont

Rated 3.0

An affable, elegant widow (Dame Joan Plowright) decides to spend the twilight of her life in a residential London hotel, where she meets a cast of elderly, theatrically English eccentrics and befriends a handsome young writer (relative newcomer Rupert Friend) who lives nearby. Adapted from the English novelist Elizabeth Taylor’s book by Ruth Sacks and directed by Dan Ireland, this unabashed weepy is often cloying but at least calm and quiet about it. Yes, Sacks and Ireland’s almost implausibly compassionate film romanticizes everything it touches and tends to patronize its cast and its audience, underlining Plowright’s dignity and Friend’s delicate beauty (he’s already drawn comparisons to Mikhail Baryshnikov and Leonardo DiCaprio), but the net effect, somehow, is agreeably pleasant. The leads play their parts with genteel grace (“My qualities are more honeymoon than mortgage,” he tells her at one point, most astutely), and the relative cinematic rarity of tender mutual affection between genders and generations should count more for these filmmakers than against them.