Directed by Charles Dance, starring Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Daniel Brühl, Miriam Margolyes and Natascha McElhone.

Written and directed by Charles Dance in his directorial debut, 'Ladies in Lavender' is a charming, warm-hearted tale of the loss of youth, but not of passion.

Two ageing sisters, Janet and Ursula (Smith and Dench) inhabit a haven of peace and orderliness on the Cornish coast of the 1930s. But, when a storm washes the injured body of a young Polish man named Andrea (Brühl) up on the beach, and the sisters take him into their home so he can recover, his presence excites feelings of tenderness in both women and something deeper in Ursula.

When they discover Andrea's talent for playing the violin, the interest of the beautiful Olga (McElhone), a Russian artist, in his ability worries the sisters. Fearing that Olga can't be trusted and not wanting to lose the guest they have become attached to, Janet and Ursula attempt to delay Andrea's inevitable departure. Ultimately though, it becomes clear to both women, and particularly Ursula, that they must let him go.

Smith and Dench are as excellent as ever as Janet and Ursula, the sisters whose quiet lives are changed forever by Andrea. There is a sadness surrounding the women, one who found love and lost it, the other who found it too late, which shines in the performances. Unfortunately, Brühl, as Andrea has little to do but look handsome and McElhone's Olga seems superfluous.

The film is beautifully shot, evocative of the peace of a bygone era. The harvest scene is particularly effective at recreating the feeling of an almost forgotten time. Dance's writing and directorial skills are top notch and 'Ladies in Lavender' is, overall, a tender and sometimes funny movie.

Katie Moten