‘The Lady in the Van’ was Mary Shepherd (Maggie Smith), an elderly vagrant living in her van in the streets of Camden in the 1970s and 80s. She came to live in Alan Bennett’s (Alex Jennings) driveway for some fifteen years. The movie tells the story of how Mary came to live, in her van, in Alan’s garden, and in a slow and roundabout way also discloses how she ended up living her autumn years in that van in the first place.
There is a healthy sub-genre of British Cinema that celebrates the quirkiness of the Brits, their subcultures and their local communities. Combine that with a backdrop of economic hardship, an abundance of prejudice, and a dash of politics and you get a very funny movie like Pride.