A special 100 minutes at the movies. Nov 12, 2009
This beautifully wrought film is a pure delight from the first frame to the last. The two Dames, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith are two sisters whose lives are changed by the young man washed up on the shore below their neat little Cornish cottage.
Charles Dance's first foray into direction is a beauty. He deftly draws his characters through the story (which he scripted) and on to a climactic and emotive end from which it is hard to hold back the tears. All the actors, down to the small parts, seem to fit into their parts as though they had been written for them. But Judi Dench and Maggie Smith inhabit their Cornish cottage as though they had lived there all their lives, as though they had always been looked after by the hilarious Dorcas (played stunningly by Miriam Margoyles). Daniel Bruel as the young man is quietly up to the high standard of the two Dames, and the Cornish setting makes the film visually pleasurable and nostalgic for those who remember a time between the two great wars. This has to be one of the finest films of its genre for quite a long time. Very watchable indeed.