Set in a Yorkshire geriatric hospital, this glorious reunion of Oscar winner Judi Dench and director Richard Eyre is a spirited homage to the idiosyncrasies of old age and the fortitude of health care workers.
This glorious reunion of Oscar winner Judi Dench and director Richard Eyre (Notes on a Scandal) is a spirited homage to the idiosyncrasies of old age and the noble fortitude of health-care workers everywhere. Adapted by Heidi Thomas from Alan Bennett’s stage play, Allelujah assembles a stunning ensemble of veteran British actors, including Jennifer Saunders, David Bradley, and Derek Jacobi.
A small Yorkshire hospital, colloquially referred to as the Beth, has slowly become relegated to taking care of the elderly. Its facilities are basic, but its staff, led by the stern but kind Sister Gilpin (Saunders), is devoted. When the Minister of Health’s belt-tightening measures threaten the Beth with closure, the hospital devises a way to fight back — with showmanship. They invite a news crew to document preparations for a concert in honour of Sister Gilpin and her crew, all of them struggling to cope with ever-dwindling resources and ever-burgeoning demand.
Allelujah supplies us with a bounty of fascinating characters, from loveable grouches Mary (Dench) and Joe (Bradley) to the handsome and beleaguered young Dr. Valentine (Bally Gill) to the many well-meaning volunteers obsessed with picayune details. Far more than mere clients and employees, these people constitute a community of mutual respect that is essential to any civilized society. This intelligent, heartwarming film serves as a plea to preserve the public institutions that care for our precious elders.