Screen Icons: Judi Dench
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Collection of four films starring Dame Judi Dench. In 'Chocolat' (2000), set in a small old-fashioned French town, single mother Vianne (Juliette Binoche) arrives with her six-year-old daughter and opens up a chocolate shop. Vianne creates some mouth-watering sweets which inspire the usually dull villagers to indulge their temptations and experience some true happiness. But it is only when handsome stranger Roux (Johnny Depp) arrives that Vianne begins to recognise her own desires. Dench won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Armande Voisin, the freethinking landlady. 'Iris' (2001) is a biographical account of the life of existentialist author Iris Murdoch as recalled in the memoirs of her husband, Professor John Bayley. John (Hugh Bonneville) is a shy slightly goofy undergraduate at Oxford who falls for fellow student, the brilliant and charismatic Iris Murdoch (Kate Winslet). Against all the odds she returns his affection and so begins a love affair that will endure for over 40 years, amid the ups and downs of her achievements as a famous philosophical novelist. The film eventually flashes forward to the couple in older age, with John (Jim Broadbent) slowly realising that Iris (Dench) has a mental illness, one that threatens the existence of her personality, of the person he knows and loves. In 'The Importance of Being Earnest' (2002), adapted from Oscar Wilde's comedy of errors, Algernon Moncrieff (Rupert Everett) has discovered that he has a secret in common with his friend Jack Worthing (Colin Firth) - they both use alter egos when in a tight spot. However, when Algernon decides to pose as Jack's alter ego - a brother Earnest from London - for a weekend in the country, he finds that Jack's ward Cicely (Reese Witherspoon) has developed an infatuation with the mysterious brother; and now she has finally met him. Meanwhile, Algernon's cousin Gwendolyne (Frances O'Connor) is also staying for the weekend and knows Jack as his alter ego. Gwendolyne's mother, the stern Lady Bracknell (Dench), has to be convinced to give her blessing to the blossoming romances. In 'The Shipping News' (2001) Quoyle (Kevin Spacey) is a newspaper inksetter in Poughkeepsie, silently suffering in a marriage of inconvenience to Petal (Cate Blanchett), who doesn't love him and is keen to put their baby daughter up for adoption. Petal is killed in an accident however, and worse, Quoyle's parents both die fairly soon after in a dual suicide. At the funeral he meets his aunt (Dench) who persuades him the time is right to move back to his ancestral home, Newfoundland, with his disturbed daughter Bunny (Kaitlyn Gainer) in tow. Despite the isolated and traditional atmosphere of the small village, Quoyle forms a relationship with local divorcee Wavey Prowse (Julianne Moore) with whose handicapped son Bunny forms a friendship. He soon lands a job reporting the shipping news for a local paper and starts to rediscover a meaning to life, the nascent relationship with Wavey offering hope and redemption.
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