‘Mrs. Palfrey’ worth a visit | AspenTimes.com

‘Mrs. Palfrey’ worth a visit

Kimberly Nicoletti

“Mrs. Palfrey at The Claremont” is a character study set within a character study.On a chance meeting, a young writer, Ludovic (Rupert Friend) becomes intrigued with an elderly woman, Mrs. Palfrey (Joan Plowright). As he writes about her, we see her beauty, but outside his vision, the movie presents Mrs. Palfrey plainly, without any romantic ideas.The artistic film begins slowly, with little interest. In this way, it parallels Mrs. Palfrey’s life. After her husband’s death, Mrs. Palfrey decides to check into The Claremont, an English retirement home, which is a blend between an old people’s home and a grand hotel that’s seen better days, much like its guests.During her stay, Mrs. Palfrey struggles with her identity. She misses her husband, but she’s curious about living life simply as Sara Palfrey – not someone’s daughter, wife or mother. Still, for as much as she wants to be her own person, peer pressure still exists at The Claremont. The residents notice nobody comes to visit her. They also take note when Mrs. Palfrey invites her grandson for dinner but doesn’t receive a return call.As Ludovic begins to pose as her grandson, a deep connection develops. In the end, they leave “an indelible mark” on each other’s soul.Though the plot drags at times, overall, “Mrs. Palfrey at The Claremont” warms the heart with a depth of spirit both young and old can enjoy. Unusual camera angles and touching scenes – such as Ludovic serenading Mrs. Palfrey with her favorite song (which she says he’s too young to know) – make the slow pace worthwhile.Plowright carries the film with a strong yet vulnerable portrayal of a woman nearing the end of her life. Friend adds an intensity and sensuality to the movie. Together, they create a compelling chemistry.Tonight is the first time it shows outside of New York and Los Angeles. After winning the best film audience award at the Palm Springs Film Festival and playing to sold-out audiences in Palm Springs, distributors decided to release it to about 50 theaters nationwide, said executive producer Lee Caplin.”Mrs. Palfrey at The Claremont” is showing at the Wheeler Opera House tonight (Friday) through Sunday at 7:30 p.m.