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tea with the dames

DIRECTOR: roger michell (notting hill, my cousin rachel)
STARRING: eileen atkins, judi dench, joah plowright, and maggie smith


REVIEWER: lyall carter


Spend time with screen icons Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright and Maggie Smith as they talk about their lives: their experience in theatre, TV and cinema and the memories they have from when they were bright young things right up to the present day.

​I remember in a screening of Disney's Into the Woods a group of girls complaining that they didn't know that the film was a musical and leaving mid way through. Just so you are aware from the outset, in case you haven't seen the trailer or have blindly walked into the cinema with no prior knowledge of this film, Tea with the Dames, is a documentary. And a darned great one at that. 

Set in the Joan Plowright's idyllic country house (can you get more quintessentially British than that?) we gain an incredible insight into all four of their careers from starting out as young children to present day.

There are plenty of tales of the National Theatre at the Old Vic from different productions, actors, and critics to their encounters with its director and Joan Plowright's husband, the formidable Sir Laurence Olivier. We learn of their breaks into film acting from James Bond to Harry Potter, living through massive social change in the 60's, and how they still have to channel their fear into fuel for their performances. It is particularly sad to see how frail Joan Plowright now is and the film takes a more sombre turn when the conversation turns to death and funerals until Maggie Smith's suggests that they should 'talk about something cheerier.'

When director Roger Michell asks them to comment on ageing Judi Dench simply replies 'F**k off Roger' which had the cinema roaring with laughter and is one of the many light hearted and hilarious moments in Tea with the Dames that makes it a delicious delight. 


For fans of cinema, acting, or the four great dames Tea with the Dames is a wonderful insight into the lives, work, and loves of four of the most celebrated actresses of our time. 


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