Mrs. Henderson Presents

If there’s one thing that heterosexual men enjoy, it’s breasts. And if there’s one thing they don’t enjoy, it’s “women’s films.” Shockingly, Mrs. Henderson Presents has combined these two illustrious genres of entertainment into one witty treat. Mrs. Henderson is a ribald and sad tale of a wealthy widow in 1930s England who decides to open a nude review. Judi Dench is hilarious and moving in the lead role, and she’s ably backed up by Bob Hoskins as the surly theater director. Much of this film is funny in exactly the way that the British are capable of being funny: When Mrs. Henderson meets Hoskins character, she exclaims “Oh, you’re Jewish!” “No, I’m not,” he replies. “Of course you are,” she ripostes. “Just look at you!” The verbal exchanges carry the film into its tragic final third, when the war (World War II, the big one) threatens not only the theater, but the lives of the women upon whose breasts the theater depends. There’s a nice supporting part from up-and-comer Kelly Reilly, who plays one of the topless entertainers. Her acting and assets are so perfectly formed that you’ll forget you’re watching a film with a BBC pedigree.


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