I am already a fan of Joan Plowright and the reviews of Mrs Palfrey implied the movie was driven by dialogue and not by action. I did not realize when I ordered the film that the male protagonist was Rupert Friend (the dastardly Mr. Wickham from the 2003 version of Pride & Prejudice). I very much enjoyed seeing him in a sympathetic role and think he was “just right” for the part of Ludo, the struggling writer.
The film is about the friendship of two lonely and very different people who are brought together unexpectedly. Ludo is the age of Mrs. Palfrey’s negligent and uncaring grandson and soon takes his place in her heart as a surrogate. She even leads the fellow guests at her hotel to believe he is her real grandson. The gentle conversations and small acts of kindness between these two make the movie a real gem.
My major complaint with the movie has to do with the movie tie-in (Brief Encounter 1946) and the obligatory lovers-in-bed scene (thankfully only 30 seconds long, but absolutely unnecessary to the story). Since one of the major themes of the movie was Mrs. Palfrey’s deep and enduring love for her deceased husband, these glorifications of love outside of marriage just didn’t ring true.
Still, this is one of the most charming and poignant friendship movies you’ll ever see. Keep some tissues handy!