The studied British theatricality and sharp wit of Stephen Frears' comedy are likely to make it a favorite among nostalgiaphiles, theater buffs, and the tea-and-crumpets set. Sailing along on the strength of another showy performance by Judi Dench (Shakespeare in Love), this is the real-life story of an imperious widow who, after burying her husband in 1936, forgoes prolonged grief in favor of sinking his leftover millions into a decrepit London theater, where she mounts the city's first nudie revue. As a celebration of theater-world eccentricity and English pluck in wartime, the film hits all its marks, well-worn though they be. Bob Hoskins is outstanding as the title character's comic foil, a stylish impresario named Vivian Van Damm, with whom she exchanges acerbic insults. All in all, it's Being Julia for 2005.
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Martin Sherman
Producer: Norma Heyman
Cast: Judi Dench, Bob Hoskins, Kelly Reilly, Christopher Guest, William Young, Thelma Barlow, Camille O'Sullivan, Rosalind Halstead, Natalia Tena and Sarah Solemani