Mrs. Henderson Presents

Released 2006


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Movie Summary

Stephen Frears
London, 1937. Mrs. Laura Henderson (Academy Award winner Judi Dench), a woman of wealth and connections, has just buried her beloved husband. And now she's bored. At 69, she is far too energetic and vital to fade into gentle widowhood. What she needs, says her friend Lady Conway (Thelma Barlow), is a hobby. Collecting diamonds, perhaps? Or doing charitable works? But, to the shock of her friends she instead buys a theatre - the Windmill Theatre in the heart of Soho. She knows nothing about running it, so she hires a manager: enter Vivian Van Damm (Bob Hoskins). Their love-hate relationship sparks fireworks – and historic innovations in British theatre. Van Damm's idea is "Revuedeville" or nonstop entertainment. It is a first, and the Windmill is packed, until other theatres copy it. Then, it's Laura's turn to devise another first; put naked girls on stage! But as the bombing of London begins, the government threatens to close the theatre. Mrs. Henderson's fighting spirit is revealed – and so is the secret that drew her to the Windmill in the first place.moreless


Metacritic Score

  • 80

    Los Angeles Times Kenneth Turan

    Just as there will always be an England, there will always be a certain kind of English film: the highly polished entertainment, well-acted, genteelly amusing and impeccably turned...

  • 60

    The New York Times Manohla Dargis

    Watching this reasonably funny, professionally assembled calculation is a little like snuggling up in front of the television with a mug of hot cocoa and a warm blanket. Those who ...

  • 60

    Variety David Rooney

    A bigscreen feature executed with a cookie-cutter small-screen sensibility, this often charming but untextured fact-based period piece is buoyed along by the redoubtable Judi Dench.

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Arts, Comedy, Drama, Music