Two of England’s greatest actresses—Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith—grace this wistful period drama, set in isolated coastal England during World War II, about the turmoil wreaked, and emotions awakened, when two elderly sisters take in a young Jewish violinist fleeing Germany. Ursula and Janet Widdington are two spinster sisters living a withdrawn, Masterpiece Theater-like existence in their coastal Cornwall village, with Ursula the eccentric, dreamy partner to Janet’s more practical, down-to-earth personality. When they bring a nearly drowned Polish castaway (Daniel Brühl, Good Bye, Lenin!) into their home, however, their narrowed horizons begin to open wide. The young man, a promising violinist, brings them life and music, and, to Ursula, a hope that love will begin to bloom even in old age. But when a younger woman arrives, possibly to take him away, Ursula is faced with a rival, one who can dash her hopes as suddenly as they arrived. For all those years, she had waited for the prince who never came. Now that he has appeared, will she let him vanish? Shot in the golden, late-summer sun of England’s picturesque Cornwall, Ladies in Lavender captures the emotions of those who have waited their entire lives for love, and find their buried passions suddenly uncovered. Dench and Smith work off one another as if they have been sisters for life, fully realizing characters that are rarely seen in commercial cinema: mature, sexually alive women, played without exaggeration, fear, or stereotypes.
A distinguished stage and screen acting talent on both sides of the Atlantic, with over 50 major credits to his name, Ladies in Lavender marks Charles Dance’s writing and directorial debut. During his long and accomplished career, Dance has
collaborated with some of the international film, TV and theater industry’s most celebrated directing and acting talent. From award-winning television dramas that include The Jewel in the Crown and the critically acclaimed First Born, Dance went on to star in Hollywood blockbusters including Last Action Hero, Plenty, Gosford Park, Hillary and Jackie, and Alien 3. He joined The Royal Shakespeare Company in 1975 and has appeared in productions of Hamlet, Richard III, Henry IV, As You Like It, Henry V, Henry VI, and Coriolanus. In 2002 and 2003 Dance appeared in the play What I Wrote at the Wyndhams Theatre, London, and on its national tour.