Dir: Richard Eyre | UK | 2022 | 99 mins
Cast | Jennifer Saunders, Bally Gill, Russell Tovey, David Bradley, Derek Jacobi, Judi Dench
Adapted by Heidi Thomas from Alan Bennett’s 2018 play of the same name, Iris director Richard Eyre’s Allelujah is a warm, intelligent and spirited story of old age and UK community activism, featuring a stellar cast including Jennifer Saunders, David Bradley, Derek Jacobi and Judi Dench.
When the geriatric ward in a small Yorkshire hospital (‘the Beth’) is threatened with closure, the hospital decides to fight back by galvanising the local community, and invites a news crew to film their preparations for a concert in honour of its most distinguished nurse (the stern but kind Sister Gilpin, played by Saunders). What could possibly go wrong?
Celebrating the hospital’s elderly patients and their idiosyncrasies, Allelujah is filled with Bennett’s shrewd humour and gentle whimsy while paying fiercer tribute to the fortitude of NHS staff battling limited resources and ever-growing needs. It’s a film designed to highlight the deep humanity at work in institutions like these and the communities of doctors, nurses, patients, support staff and volunteers that make them up – as well as the urgent need to sustain them.
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