TEA WITH THE DAMES is a celebration of the lives and careers of four iconic actresses who’ve gone from being fledgling actresses in the 1950s to acting royalty.
Dame Eileen Atkins (b1934 – Gosford Park, Paddington 2)
Dame Judi Dench (b1934 – Mrs Brown, Skyfall, Philomena)
Dame Joan Plowright (b1929 – 101 Dalmatians, Tea With Mussolini)
Dame Maggie Smith (b1934 – Harry Potter, the Lady in the Van, Marigold Hotel)
Directed by Roger Michell (My Cousin Rachel, Notting Hill), he simply turns on the cameras and lets the dames reminisce, occasionally prompting them with a topic to discuss.
From the role of fear in a performer’s life, to how they feel about getting old (“Fuck off Roger” exclaims Dench without missing a beat), this is a wonderful and joyous excursion into the treasured memories of a quartet of English screen icons.
While it will definitely reward those more intimate with their personal lives (which for the most part is not up for discussion), for the uninitiated such as myself, it offers a window into four fascinating lives in the world of the performing arts.
Using limited existing archival footage from the 50s and 60s to illustrate their theatre and early film and television appearances, this is very much a film where the enjoyment comes from watching a gang of mates chat about their many exploits.
Heavy on the laughs, with many acute observations about their experiences, I’ve now got a list of films to watch and re-watch including Tea With Mussolini, Gosford Park, Harry Potter, Skyfall and the Marigold Hotel films, through fresh eyes, and with even greater respect.
An excellent concept that has been beautifully executed, grab your dear old dame and make a date. I went with my Mum and we both loved it.
4 Stars. A Grand Old Time.