A essential confession: I’ve by no means seen Louis Malle’s “My Dinner with Andre,” the 1981 movie in which artists Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory converse over a meal. However I’m keen to wager that even when I had, I’d favor “Tea With the Dames,” a captivating glimpse into a day hangout between longtime buddies — Joan Plowright, Eileen Atkins, Maggie Smith and Judi Dench — all of whom occur to be British performing royalty.
Intercutting their banter with clips from many a long time of award-winning movie and stage performances, director Roger Michell (“Notting Hill”) principally hangs again, on occasion lobbing a query: “Speak about getting older!” he calls. Dench shoots him a withering look. “F – – ok off, Roger.”
It’s the no-BS Dench who steals the present, particularly when her friends lovingly gang up on her for snagging all the good components for older girls. However Smith isn’t any slouch both, particularly when rolling her eyes about her character’s ornate hats in “Downton Abbey” and confiding that she’s by no means truly seen the present. “They despatched me a field set,” she shrugs.
In an ideal world, “Tea With the Dames” may very well be a sequence. Allow us to be flies on the wall for this posse’s weekly gathering for tea and convivial cackling. And I say this with the delighted surety that they’d inform anybody who proposed this concept to go straight to hell.