Ladies in Lavender
By Kat Halstead,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
1930s British period drama has occasional language, smoking.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie focuses on the importance of kindness and love. But it also examines obsession, jealousy, and learning to let go.
Positive Role Models
Sisters Ursula and Janet are kind and generous, though ulterior motives suggest their behavior is not entirely selfless. Andrea, a young Polish man, is portrayed as being decent and gracious. But, given the 1930s setting, there is some suspicion in the village regarding his involvement in foreign espionage. Olga, an artist, is painted as a strong and defiant woman able to put unwanted suitors in their place.
Violence & Scariness
Mention of shipwrecks. A character is seen drowning in the sea before being shown washed up -- alive -- on a beach. World War I is referenced, along with the death of a spouse. One character is physically threatened by another, but there is no violent outcome.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing and rolling in the grass is shown briefly in a dream sequence. Unrequited love is a theme throughout.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
The word "f--king" is used on one occasion. Infrequent use of mild language including "piss" and "bloody."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink alcohol on a number of occasions in bars and at gatherings. A character is seen drunk to the point of falling down and passing out. Some smoking.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ladies in Lavender is a British period drama set in the 1930s, starring Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, and features drinking, smoking, and occasional strong language. It tells the story of two older women who take in a young Polish man and nurse him back to health after he almost drowns at sea before washing up on a local beach. Reference is made to World War I, including the death of a husband, and the nervousness and paranoia of the time about foreign espionage. There is one use of the word "f--king," and occasional mild language such as "bloody" and "piss." Characters, as befitting the time period, are occasionally shown smoking. There is also some drinking, with one character passing out drunk. The movie is generally slow, gentle, and charming, though deals with themes of unrequited love, jealousy, and obsession.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Ladies in Lavender
Based on 1 parent review
Report this review
What's the Story?
In LADIES IN LAVENDER, sisters Ursula (Judi Dench) and Janet (Maggie Smith) share a home on the south-west coast of England with their housekeeper Dorcas (Miriam Margolyes). When a young Polish man, Andrea (Daniel Bruhl), washes up on the beach, they dedicate their time to nursing him back to health and form a mutual bond. As Ursula's affections become more intense, Andrea's eye is caught by Olga (Natascha McElhone), an artist who promises to open doors to a successful future.
Is It Any Good?
The two Dames at the heart of the movie could hold viewers' attention making tea, and it's their performances that elevate what is otherwise a consistent, but not particularly memorable production. In Ladies in Lavender, as sisters cohabiting into old age, Dench and Smith perfectly portray the ease and warmth, as well as the petty grievances and rivalries that rear their heads when their household is set aflutter by a new arrival. Margoyles is characteristically likable as the no-nonsense housekeeper, who doesn't suffer fools gladly, and Bruhl is full of wide-eyed charm as the youngster at the center of everyone's attention.
The backdrop is spectacular -- all colorful gardens, glistening sea views, and a wistful rugged coastline. But take that away, along with the strong performances from the cast, and you're left with a mild and warm film, but one that you're unlikely to continually revisit.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about some of the themes explored in the movie. How would you describe Ursula's relationship with Andrea? What does it mean to be jealous and obsessive?
Talk about the language used in the movie. Did the fact that it was only used on occasion make it less or more shocking? Why do you think it was included in the movie? What did it add to the story?
Discuss how the drinking and smoking in the movie reflect the time period. How have attitudes changed?
How did the after-effects of World War I impact the story?
- In theaters: April 29, 2005
- On DVD or streaming: December 12, 2005
- Cast: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Daniel Bruhl
- Director: Charles Dance
- Studio: Roadside Attractions
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters
- Character Strengths: Compassion
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: brief strong language
- Last updated: November 21, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Drama Movies That Tug at the Heartstrings
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate