A reader suggested that I should use the keywords Judi Dench during my quest to find my personal, archetypical movie heroine. Sound advice with outstanding results. Thank you, Nancy!
Mrs Henderson Presents was inspired by a true story that unfolds between 1937 and 1943 in London, England and the war cemeteries of France. Judi Dench plays Laura Henderson, recently widowed, who lost her son in WWI. As the film opens, we watch her husband’s funeral unfold.
When Laura Henderson asks her previously widowed friend how to be a widow, she advises Laura to acquire a hobby; join a committee or buy things. Laura follows the advice. The hobby and the committee work are not successful. Eventually she buys something.
Bob Hoskins, produced the film, and plays the part of Vivian Van Damme, a theatre manager, who Mrs. Henderson hires to run her purchase – the Windmill Theatre in London’s West End.
If I weren’t on a quest to find a movie heroine with the leadership skills of Marie Curie, the wit of Dorothy Parker and the unconventionality of Katherine Hepburn, I would still find much to praise in Mrs Henderson Presents:
- The costumes – colourful 30′s embroidered silks cut to resemble Chinese robes.
- The jewellery – stunning Art Deco pieces dangling from her ears and circling her throat.
- A beautiful claret coloured Rolls Royce, with uniformed chauffeur.
- 1930s music, stage sets and upper class affectations.
- British character actors playing eccentrics and the privileged.
- Poignant moments of loss and jealousy and love.
Judi Dench’s Laura Henderson speaks wittily, leads craftily and is wonderfully unconventional. Bob Hoskin’s character describes Laura as selfish, rude and eccentric. One man’s thorn in the his side is another woman’s perfect movie heroine.
Warning: Much nudity. This is not a family friendly movie. 2 hankies.