With A Song In My Heart, And A Pentagram On My Palm
This movie is for old women. Which is strange, because old women don’t go to the movies. They stay at home, eat cat food and try not to get raped by Richard Ramirez. Sometimes, they ride public transportation while wearing more make-up than an open casket corpse, but it’s never to the movie theatre. Usually, it’s to the post office to buy stamps, which helps them remember what it was like to have someone to write to. Nevertheless, this movie is aimed squarely at them, with plenty of old people doing charmingly shocking things, like taking off their clothes or swearing or rehashing old Golden Girls episodes, all swirling together into one protracted rapping granny gag from a particularly tame Adam Sandler movie.
Don't worry, Mrs. Henderson, he just wants to deliver some flowers. And cut your eyes out while you still live.
I hoped for much more from this film, and all I got was a pinch on the cheek and a bunch of “oh, I never”s. I’m fairly sure, in fact, that the only reason Dame Judi Dench was nominated for an Oscar is that the Academy wants to get in her will. Based on a true story, the titular character is a stereotypical rich old biddy who inherits a bunch of money and buys a theatre. Strangely, and someone anachronistically, she hires Mario from Super Mario Bros. to run the place, and they turn it into England’s first strip club. There’s plenty of Victorian sputtering and the like, enough to put a rosy glow in the death-like pallor of your grandmother’s cheek, but everything seems so awkward and contrived, which is strange considering the film comes from the normally dependable Stephen Frears. And what’s worse, there’s this entirely unbelievable anti-war/pro-sex message shoehorned in to try and put some context into the film, but it fails miserably. In fact, the whole film fails, trying to stand out with ribaldry and vitality, but instead just breaking its hip, falling on the floor and dying, alone and ignored in an apartment that stinks of lavender, old newspapers, and, finally, decay. Maybe, come the Academy Awards on March 5, someone will notice the smell.