Mrs. Henderson Presents : A Review (Spoiler Warning)

One thing I have to say about the British humour is that it has a subtlety that does not exist in North American humour. In North America, slapstick has been taken to new heights but the subtle humour which generally sticks in your head for days and days is not the forte of North American humour. Yes Minister, Yes Prime Minister, Dave Allen Show, Are You Being Served, Fawlty Towers are superb examples of British humour on TV. In case of movies, the list is endless. Monty Python, A Shot In The Dark, Dr. Strangelove etc. and now we can add Mrs. Henderson Presents to the list. Well, at least in the top 20 of British comedy movies.

The movie is laugh a minute riot with some sombre scenes, after all most of the movie is set during The Blitz so there were bound to be some tears. Judy Dench proves why age is no bar for lead actress and Bob Hopskins proves why he is one of the most underrated actors of the last decade or so. The chemistry between them is electrifying and the banter never ceases even for
a moment.

A short synopsis of the movie : Judy Dench’s character, a recent widow, wants some excitement in her life. She tries different things that a “proper widow” ought to do in that era but finally settles on a radical idea; Buy a theatre. She hires Bob Hopskins as the manager and from the word go they are at each other throats even though it is obvious they admire each other. The theatre does quite well to begin with but is eventually swamped by competition. Then Judy Dench’s character has another radical idea which Bob Hopskins’s character likes, let’s have nudes on stage. So was born the first strip club in England. The bulk of the movie shows the running of the new format of the show and how it continues even during The Blitz. Eventually, it is the only show left running during the bombing as a defiance act to the Germans. In the end of the movie, the bombing is going on and the British government wants to shut down the show because a bomb might land on the theatre and kill a huge crowd as opposed to scattered people. Judy Dench convinces the authorities not to and the movie closes there revealing the reason why Judy Dench wants a nude show in the first place.

All in all a very satisfying movie. After it was over Charu and I were laughing all over again as we were discussing the movie. There were many “remember that scene” moments which is a sign that the movie was probably a good movie. There was no inherent message in the movie and no profound scene that left you thinking, it did leave you with a smile on your face. A light
hearted comedy. That’s how I would describe it.

However, as with all Hollywood movies, there wes a hole in it. There was only one problem with the movie that I saw. The reason why Mrs. Henderson wants nudes. Her son died in the first world war and while going through his personal effects she finds a nude picture of a showgirl from France. So, in order for the sons of England in the world war 2 not to go to their potential death without having seen a naked woman, she decided to let them see nude women. I think that really threw the movie off track. Thank god it was right at the end else I would have been so put off by this and not enjoyed the rest of the movie.

All in all a great movie. Highly recommended.

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