04 April 2015

The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (starring Judi Dench)


This is another movie that was recommended to me on Amazon, probably because I have enjoyed films featuring Dame Judi Dench in the past. I had never heard of it before, perhaps because it was originally made for television, back in 2000. The title wasn’t particularly appealing, but the reviews were good so I put it on my wish-list some time ago and forgot about it; so I was pleased to be given it last Christmas.

The story opens with a funeral. Judi Dench’s character Elizabeth has just lost her husband of many years. She misses him, but is determined that life should continue, and be interesting, despite her rather stuffy adult children who feel that she should move into some kind of care home. She starts playing her saxophone again, something she had abandoned for many years although - as she explains to her granddaughter Joanna - she was once well-known as a musician, in a wartime band called ‘The Blonde Bombshells’.

Elizabeth bumps into Patrick (Ian Holme) who was the drummer for the band, and they decide to contact other past members, to see if they can have a reunion concert. They don’t do very well at first: one member has died, one is suffering from dementia, one has joined the Salvation Army and doesn’t play ‘that kind of music’ any more… but then, gradually, much to Elizabeth’s family’s dismay, the band starts to re-form.

There are flashbacks to the wartime band interspersed with the narrative, and it makes for a compelling and interesting story that’s unusual and quite poignant. Judi Dench is excellent; her acerbic witty style fits the aging but bohemian Elizabeth. She’s not the only well-known actress involved: even I had heard of Olympia Dukakis, Cleo Laine, Joan Sims and June Whitfield, all of whom play different members of the reunion band.

The music is excellent and fits perfectly with the storyline, the pace is good, and we enjoyed this film very much indeed. There are no extras, and it lasts just under an hour and a half.

The rating is 15, which is presumably because of a few instances of ‘strong’ language. I would have thought that 12 would have been more appropriate.

Definitely recommended, although it’s currently showing on DVD in the UK at a vast price; I hope it will be re-released at a rather more reasonable cost. I wouldn't suggest paying more than £10 for it at the most.

Review by copyright 2015 Sue's DVD Reviews

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