Director Roger Mitchell (best known for Notting Hill) sets up some cameras while legendary actresses Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Eileen Atkins, Dame Judi Dench, and Dame Joan Plowright chat about their careers, their husbands (Plowright was married to Sir Lawrence Olivier), and their futures. All four women are in their 80s and suffer from a number of physical problems. But, despite the years, these wonderful actresses liven up the screen talking about roles won and lost. Eileen Atkins admits to turning down the role of Cleopatra FOUR TIMES because she didn’t think she was beautiful enough. Roger Mitchell includes footage from various movies and archival clips of these actresses in action over the decades. These four friends have been meeting together for years and their interaction shows us another softer and funnier side to these stars.
My favorite line in Tea With the Dames comes from Judi Dench’s then husband, Michael Williams. Dench took the role of James Bond’s boss, M, when Williams told her, “I long to live with a Bond woman.” GRADE: A-