The Lady in the Van : Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER………….Towards the end of the movie Miss Shepherd is brought to the day center to clean up and have her clothes cleaned. Presumably after not bathing herself for at least 15 years. Nor having her clothes washed. At least they never showed it. Although new clothes were brought to her. Anyway, after at least 15 years of not playing the Piano, she is at the day center, notices the Piano and starts playing. My problem with this scene is that she starts playing and then finishes and in between the two there are 0 mistakes. Not one, it's flawless. My Father is a concert Pianist who graduated from Julliard. When practicing for a concert he would make mistakes a week before the performance. So the notion that Miss Shepherd would come in and start playing like she did is just ludicrous.

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

I thought I heard at least one mistake but I completely agree that it seems unlikely to do so well without any warm-up after so long. Also, it's not like she was playing a concert. She was just playing a bit of a simple piece that she knew extremely well. She had been of professional skill so perhaps it's not completely far fetched but I also had to wonder how realistic that was.

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

I suppose it's possible, Prismark10 mentioned it might be a flight of fancy. Which sounds like a good explanation too. At least it would make more sense to me. :)

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

Perhaps what we heard was what she heard in her mind. That IRL it had flaws and mistakes but the experience of her being able to play it without repercussions from the nuns made it perfect in her mind and heart. True, it takes much practice at anything to be good at it.
Lucky you. Having a Dad to listen to must have been a joy in your home growing up. I adore listening to pianists and have a friend I saw perform at Lincoln Center. I have no musical talent but a deep admiration of those who do.

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

My mother did just this, she sat down after my father died and played the piano. She had not touched one since she married some 30 years before. She said she was making mistakes, but they weren't apparent to her gobsmacked children.
We have no idea why she stopped. Or started again.
So yes, realistic I guess…..

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

Whilst for the most part, we just see close-ups of an elderly lady's hands playing the Chopin and also close ups of Maggie's face, there are a couple of shots in which we do see Maggie actually playing the Chopin, albeit for a few bars at a time. Looking at her fingers, they do appear to be in perfect synchronicity with the notes being played.

Did Maggie actually learn the fingering for parts of this piece so that in selected shots her playing would appear perfectly authentic? If so, I can only guess that she was (or still is) a pianist herself. Does anyone know?

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Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

maggie smith may have learnt to play when she was young, many girls of her generation would have learnt, it was something that was still very common. Come to think of it, she has played a piano teacher herself, in the film A Private Function, set in 1947 (when Maggie Smith would very likely have been learning the piano herself, if she did).

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

The way the scene was shot it could also been a flight of fancy in her imagination.

It's that man again!!

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

I had not considered that, definitely a possibility.

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

I bet you didn't clap for Tinkerbell after she drank the poison to save Peter's life …..

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

I have no clue what that is in reference to. However, that was basically the climax of the movie and barring it being a memory, her near flawless performance ruined it for ME, coming from a musical family. Brother and Grandfather are also musicians.

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

I could be wrong about this, but I was under the impression that it was a dream.

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

I thought it was a really moving sequence and that I'd never seen a shot where the camera stayed so close for so long on an older woman's face. Guess I'm a sucker for that old movie magic

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

It could be a dream, but, alternatively, remember that some of Miss Shepherd's activities are what Alan Bennett as the writer imagines she might do, especially those events that do not take place in his presence.

Bennett, the writer, and his alter ego character discuss doing that sort of thing, as he is writing away, a couple of times in the movie.

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

It is unquestionably a dream. For one thing, she is accompanied by an orchestra (heard but not seen). She is still playing (we hear the music and see her hands) when Bennett knocks on the van and awakens, or at least startles, her, and she says "I wasn't stopping there".

The movie wants us to believe (and we are eager to believe) that she has actually sat down and played again. But the movie also very clearly disabuses us of that notion a minute later.

Edward

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

Hmmmmmmmm.. . ..I never thought of it as her dream. . . .could be possibly. . .

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

I don't think that she played particularly well. The piece was played well enough to be recognizable, but definitely with flaws and uncertainty; that's how I heard it.

I play guitar. Not well, but I play. There's been gaps in my life when I haven't played, but when I do pick the damned thing up, it's very much like second nature; I'd compare it to riding a bike. Muscle memory and music memory are amazing things.

Likely? I don't know. Impossible? Definitely not.



Apparently, dogs are wolves with Williams-Beuren Syndrome.

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

I was about to ask if muscle memory applies to playing a musical instrument, but you seem to regard them as different phenomena?

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

Please get yourself a life of some sort.

Re: Possible SPOILER concerning The Lady's musical abilities.

I think you misunderstood.

It shows her slowly trying to recall the fingering. Then there's a moment where she seems like she's decided something and proceeds to play with confidence.

I don't think this really happened. It's interrupted with her being intruded upon by Alan. She was fantasizing.
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