Allelujah takes you on a trip to see how nurse Jennifer Saunders tends to A-listers in Richard Eyre’s version of a 2018 play centered around a struggling geriatric hospital. It’s a movie to watch at the cinemas this March if you’re not exploring Betfair on betinasia.com/betfair-exchange/.
This charming and astute ensemble comedy was adapted by screenwriter Heidi Thomas from Alan Bennett’s much-lauded 2018 stage play. Bethlehem Hospital is the iconic institution that gave rise to the word “bedlam,” Its name has been reapplied without obvious irony to a fictional geriatric hospital in Yorkshire. Richard Eyre is a skilled director, as you’ll see when you watch this movie.
The film is primarily set in the Shirley Bassey ward of “Beth,” a tiny community centre that has received celebrity gifts and is named in their honor. However, its closure is threatened by hard-nosed Whitehall bean counters who prefer large, efficient hospitals or flashy “centers of excellence” with quantifiable outcomes.
Despite its lack of glitz and glamour, providing care for the elderly includes dealing with vulnerable people who are only going in one direction. Treating them requires vital acts of kindness and compassion that have nothing to do with profit.
Colin (Russell Tovey), a consultant for the Department of Health who shares similar biases, must visit his dying ex-miner father, Joe (David Bradley), at the Beth. Joe is a cranky old man who has not been able to accept his son’s sexual orientation. It’s not hard to see that Colin’s initial, loud loyalty to the government line is very broad and that his attitude toward the hospital and his father is unlikely to improve soon.
Have You Seen The Stage Play?
If you had seen this movie as a stage play, you’ll most likely have enjoyed Colin’s character better, as the emotions and reactions were more realistic than what we now have on screen. Other reviews might even conclude that Colin might not have been the right cast for the role.
Mary, played by Judi Dench, is another ward resident who is more interested in the readers’ revealing scribbles in the margins of the page than in the books themselves. Derek Jacobi’s Ambrose, a snobby ex-teacher who likes the archaic term “schoolmaster,” is more genuinely literary; he mulls over Charles Causley’s poem titled Ten Types of Hospital Visitors.
Desperate to avoid paying the inheritance tax, Julia McKenzie’s daughter and son-in-law will do anything to keep her alive for a few more months. Nurse Pinkney, played by Jesse Akele, is an eternal optimist. Dr. Valentine, played by Bally Gill, is matched by Sister Gilpin, played by Jennifer Saunders, a strong, no-nonsense nurse who keeps everything running smoothly.
It might be a little unbearably cheesy to picture a quartet of veteran British character actors (Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins, and Michael Gambon) working together in a care setting. Also, I must admit that it brings back memories of Dustin Hoffman’s insufferably patronizing 2012 film Quartet.
Allelujah will be showing in London Cinemas from March 25th to 31st.