Director Roger Michell (Notting Hill) brings together four incredible actors in Tea with the Dames – Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins – in a documentary that celebrates their collective and individual accomplishments.
The film, which opened in theatres on September 21, allows these women to let it rip on a variety of subjects, from stage fright and husbands to attitudes toward aging, in a candid way that just makes viewers adore them even more. No subject is taboo.
Now, all over the age of 80, the dames have a lifetime of experiences to share as they sit down for tea (and a splash of champagne) in the lovely garden of Plowright’s cottage in the English countryside. It’s an annual gathering and audiences have the feeling that they get to be flies on the wall as the acting legends chat among themselves.
Along with the dishing and the cheeky comments, Tea with the Dames (and they truly are dames, courtesy of Queen Elizabeth) also features clips and photos from many films, plays and television shows they appeared in over their long, remarkable careers.
The end result is inspiring. These are women who fought for every one of their successes with great tenacity, strength and charm. They are unapologetic disruptors who continue to challenge how women of a certain age are viewed by the entertainment business. And when it comes to aging, they demonstrate that they will not buy into any of the stereotypes that go with it. Both Dench and Smith are still working. Dench has three films yet to be released and Smith is currently filming a Downton Abbey movie.
For fans of these talented film legends, Tea with the Dames is a true delight and a celebration of everything they stand for.