Ladies in Lavender (2004)

Rated PG. Our ratings: V- ; L- ; S/N

(Love) does not insist on its own way.
1 Corinthians 13:5

Ladies in Lavender

The main reason for watching director/writer Charles Dance’s film is to see the performances of two grand dames of the silver screen. Judi Dench plays Ursula Widdington and Maggie Smith is her sister Janet. Their peaceful lives in a cottage on the coast of England is interrupted when they discover the body of a young man lying near the water. It had been a stormy night before, but there was no sign of a shipwreck. After managing to move him inside, they summon the doctor, who assures them that the young man will recover. Over the next few days, both sisters nurse him along, but the never married Ursula especially develops an attachment to him.

Their guest speaks no English, but they manage to find that his name is Andrea Marowski (Daniel Bruhl). Ursula begins to teach him English by taping labels to everything around the room. Hearing fiddle music, Andrea manages to convey his wish to have the player visit him. They bring the man, who is one of the amateur musicians that play at the local dances, and he plays a tune. Andrea signs that he would like to play the fiddle, and promptly sets off on a masterful rendition of the same song, adding many embellishments. The surprised owner agrees to leave the instrument with Andrea. Later, the mysterious Olga Danilof (Natascha McElhone) stops by during one of her walks to express her admiration for Andrea’s playing. The sisters do not invite her to say, apparently regarding her as an interloper.

Ursula, to the dismay of Janet, displays a growing infatuation with Andrea. How this develops, and how Olga influences the destiny of Andrea and the sisters you must find out for yourself. As a study of loneliness and kindness, the film exhibits a certain charm. It is only in the formulaic conclusion that we actually see our two “ladies in lavender.” If you like the way Mr. Holland’s Opus ended, then you will certainly enjoy this sentimental tale.