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Mrs. Henderson Presents back to product details

Stiff Uppers--and Songs
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written by talltale April 22, 2006 - 9:01 PM PDT
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
Stiff upper-lipped and all the more moving because of it, MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS tells the story of the rich widow who decided to reopen a closed legit theatre in London just before WWII and kept it going, under rather difficult circumstances, all during wartime.

Director Stephen Frears rarely makes a misstep in his movies, and this one is no exception. Rather than adding on a "romance" between the main characters (a terrific Hoskins and Dench) or making too much of any of the small subplots in order to hype the drama or tension, Frears and writer Martin Sherman are happy to simply give us the story, complete with delightful musical numbers of the time--all quite to-scale and with voices that sound very much like those of the 1940s. If no new ground is broken here, neither is the audience subjected to mind-numbing cliché. Consequently, the story seems fresh and surprising, even as it takes its typical course.

All the young women portraying the girls who appear nude on stage (the theatre's drawing card) are quite good, and one--Kelly Reilly--is more than that. Over the past five years the lovely and talented Ms Reilly, who here plays Maureen, has made one wonderful appearance after another in which she's "discovered" over and over again: "Last Orders," L'Auberge Espagnole," (and its sequel "Russian Dolls," yet to be released here), "Dead Bodies," "The Libertine," and "Pride & Prejudice." Maybe "Mrs. Henderson" is the film that will help her move on from mere "discovery" to leading lady. It's about time.

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(Average 7.46)
54 Votes
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