Edith Evans got the “Dame” added to her name for her extensive work in the legitimate theater, but she did some movies and was swell in all the ones I have seen. She was good enough for an Oscar nomination for this one, made when she was 79. She would continue working for 15 more films, until her death in 1976.
Here she is an elderly woman living alone in a squalid two-room flat in a town that, if it isn’t the actual asshole of England, is only a few puckers away. She spends her time at the library, the soup kitchen, visiting the Welfare offices, and sitting at home. She hears voices in the dripping pipes, and has fantasies that she is coming into a grand inheritance. Her piece-of-shit son visits and conceals a lot of money in the room. Finding it, she imagines it’s her inheritance and takes some of it down to the Welfare to pay back some of what she was given. Unwisely, she shows the money to a monster sitting next to her, in the form of a chubby little bitch who is suddenly her best friend. She is wheedled into a bus trip and a few drinks, passes out, and the monster and her monster kids and monster husband take it all and trundle her out into the cold and dump her.
She is weeks recovering from pneumonia, and isn’t all there when she gets well. Her husband, who had abandoned her, is called in to take care of her. She gradually regains her senses, and he quickly reverts to form, getting in so badly with gangsters that he’s forced to flee.
So she is back where she started, with only the whispering voices for company … and it’s clear that, bad off as she is, she’s doing better than when it all changed. Heavy stuff, and I can applaud much about the way it was made except the glacial pace. I snoozed here and there … not really, but I was in danger of nodding off. It’s sure not one I’d want to see again.