Judi Dench

Red Joan

Octogenarian Judi Dench can do it all. She can play smart, fierce and sexy (see her in the more recent James Bond films). She can be a queen (a number of films). She can be a creeper (oh, yes, Notes on a Scandal). And she can effortlessly play an everywoman (like Philomena). But she can’t make a …

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Notes on a Scandal

Dench stars as Barbara Covett, a stern and spinsterly history teacher at a British high school, who’s tolerated and respected—but not particularly liked—by her colleagues. Having taught for more than three decades, she’s something of an institution in her own right, and serves as the moral compass for staff and students alike. Taciturn and borderline …

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Judi Dench, consummate pro of an actress that she is, made me cry 8 minutes into Philomena. Her adult daughter (Anna Maxwell Martin) is rushing off to a late shift at work, but sees her mother Philomena staring at an old photograph, clutched in her hand. “Who is it?” her daughter asks gently, of the …

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The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Funny, poignant, joyful and filled with beauty, this comedy-drama from director John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) and writer Ol Parker (Imagine Me and You, which I also loved beyond measure) is all about embracing change instead of fearing it. Sprinkled amidst that message are equally potent lessons about finding one’s purpose, following one’s dreams, eschewing …

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This five-part period drama is based on three novels by Elizabeth Gaskell. The cast includes the likes of Dame Judi Dench, Dame Eileen Atkins, Sir Michael Gambon, Imelda Staunton, and Francesca Annis—and Cranford only gets better from there. The series begins with the arrival of two new residents, and an idea of things to come. …

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Return to Cranford

To its credit, almost the entire cast (at least of the surviving characters) returns for this two-part sequel. Still fluttering about gossiping like a cluster of chickens are Miss Matty Jenkyns (Judi Dench), Mrs. Forrester (Julia McKenzie), Miss Pole (Imelda Staunton), Miss Tomkinson (Deborah Findlay), and the slightly more hoity-toity Mrs. Jamieson (Barbara Flynn). This …

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