Director – Richard Eyre – 2022 – UK – Cert. 12a – 98m
While a small NHS hospital in Wakefield, Yorkshire is in danger of being closed down by the government as inefficient, it seeks to care for its geriatric patients– out in UK cinemas on Friday, March 17th
Based on the 2018 stage play by Alan Bennett, this multiple plot- and character-drama follows the day-to-day lives of assorted, mostly terminal, geriatric patients in The Beth, or the Bethlehem Hospital to give it its full name, in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Dr. Valentine (Bally Gill) whose real Indian name no-one can pronounce (really?) provides a framing device, a man who in an engaging, opening voice-over makes it clear that he genuinely cares for the elderly and who closes the film in a couple of scenes that don’t really work. Of which, more later.
Because what follows is for the most part character- rather than plot-driven, the character of Dr. Valentine doing his rounds and grappling with the inevitable day-to-day crises as they come up provides the main structural spine of the story.
I say ‘the main’ line, but in fact there is one other character who serves a similar function not to mention several subsidiary plots, one of which is considerably weightier than the others.… Read the rest