Director: Ricardo Eyre | Script: Heidi Thomas | Cast: Bally Gill (Dr. Valentine), Jennifer Saunders (Sister Gilpin), Judi Dench (Mary), Derek Jacobi (Mr. Ambrose), Russel Tovey (Colin Colman), David Bradley (Joe Colman), ea | Time to play: 99 minutes | Year: 2022
Since at least the 1990s, British filmmakers have been masters of telling stories that can make you laugh and cry. Think of movies like billy elliott in small voice that take a look at average people and the brighter and darker sides of their lives. Hallelujah seems to be such a movie, too, until a bizarre and unexpected twist detracts from the quality.
The Belén Geriatric Hospital, better known as La Beth, is the scene of Hallelujah. It offers a glimpse into the lives of patients and healthcare workers. Little by little, the government has been tearing down the institution for years, and the end seems near. But not before the head nurse gets a tape. A government financial adviser knows The Beth better now that her father has landed there and realizes the unwarranted pulling of the plug.
Hallelujah It is one of the many theatrical adaptations of recent times, but it is not really noticeable. Alan Bennet’s 2018 source material includes an argument about the importance of healthcare. Two years later, the corona outbreak underscored that message.
The film is also set in the time when covid did not yet exist. The main character is Doctor Valentine, or so he calls himself because the Indian name for him is too complicated for the British. He is young and has a real passion for caring for the elderly. He understands that these are the people they have always been, but unfortunately they are in a body that no longer cooperates like he used to. He’s absolutely right about that, except he’s a pretty skinny character.
Head Nurse Gilpin, perfectly played by Jennifer Saunders absolutely fabulous on the other hand no. On the one hand, it is very cold, on the other hand, he understands that adults too easily leave their parents in a nursing home. Caregivers assume many of these family responsibilities and offer more than just medical assistance. Doctor Valentine admires Gilpin once he gets to know her better.
Among the older ones are British actors of the highest calibre, such as Judi Dench and Derek Jacobi. She is a shy and autistic guy, he is an intellectual stressed by Death that is just around the corner but does not announce when she arrives. Most of the older patients are there for comic relief. There’s also a lady who can’t talk anymore and communicates by hitting a plate, but in the second half of the movie she suddenly doesn’t pay attention to her anymore.
The focus gradually shifts to the financial advisor and his father Joe. In any case, the difficult parent-child relationship highlights the importance of good care. In the UK, the NHS provides free healthcare to all citizens, but this makes institutions and employees highly dependent on the government. Both the sector and the citizen suffer as a result.
Hallelujah Raise this topic, but it’s late and feels very forced, especially in the last scene. And this point also comes after the bizarre twist, which makes him seem much less strong. That crazy twist doesn’t do the movie any good, by the way, but it spoils the dessert of a hitherto tasty dinner.