Maggie, it goes without saying, is magnificent - a riper version of the Dowager Countess (that's ripe as in a wedge of Stinking Bishop) and just as withering in her ripostes. And it was fun to see that The Lady in the Van was actually filmed on Gloucester Crescent and in Alan Bennett's old house. Gloucester Crescent, of course, also features in the BBC adaptation of Nina Stibbe's book Love, Nina which is coming soon (but it sounds as if they've mucked about with the book and, unlike The Lady in the Van, it was filmed somewhere else).
But can you imagine living on Gloucester Crescent - with AlanBennettMissShepherdClaireTomalinMichaelFraynJonathanMillerAJAyerDeborahMoggachDavidGentlemanGeorgeMellyUrsulaVaughan-WilliamsAliceThomas-Ellis ... and heaven knows who else for neighbours? You'd have to be feeling intellectually at the top of your game even to shuffle out to the corner shop for a pint of milk. You couldn't put out the recycling bin without The Economist and the London Review of Books at the top of the pile. Of course, the joke of Love, Nina is that they're all perfectly normal and watch rubbish telly and eat turkey bolognese. (I'd forgotten, until it was mentioned in the film, that Catherine Dickens lived at no 70, so I wonder if that's what inspired Claire Tomalin's biography? )
Maggie will undoubtedly get an Oscar. But having seen Brief Encounter last week - and come away feeling sorry that it was over too soon - I wondered why films today always make you feel as if they've gone on half an hour too long. By the end, I'd had just a bit too much. And as for the ending ... I'd give Maggie her Oscar and the film 7.5.