Capturing Mary, written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff
Capturing Mary is an interesting, pleasant film that has alas attracted very little, indeed, almost no attention.
On the most popular movies site- IMDB- there are only fifteen users that have expressed an opinion.
Furthermore, there are an unbelievable number of external reviews: just two critics have reviewed this work.
Well, this is going to be three now.
The legendary Maggie Smith plays the role of Mary Gilbert.
She is a woman of…well, should I venture and place a figure here?
Let us just say that the lady in question is at a very advanced age, or just passed the middle age?
She comes by a mansion where she used to attain parties in her youth and knocks at the door.
Joe, a young man who appears to be somewhat special or challenged, slow to catch on at times, opens the door.
After some hesitation, he allows the older lady to come into the house and he becomes ever more hospitable.
He offers the visitor some tea and while she was reminiscing about the past, she spills a lot of milk on the tiled floor.
Images from the past are appearing before her eyes, from the days when they were feting around this small palace.
In these ample, beautiful rooms, she was enjoying good music, food and illustrious guests that she mentions.
One could never tell if that was Alfred Hitchcock sitting on a chair, Ava Gardener behind a curtain.
Other writers and famous intellectuals attended these celebrations- E. M. Forster and Evelyn Waugh among them.
However, Mary Gilbert is fascinated with some other figure from the past.
Greville White has mesmerized her.
David Walliams portrays this character.
For this viewer, it feels awkward to watch this performance from the actor who became familiar from:
Type casting is wrong.
In addition, David Walliams takes the part seriously; indeed, he is perhaps too pompous in some scenes.
That could all be justified, as Greville is an unusual, mysterious, outré personage that acts in a peculiar manner.
At one moment, he meets in the kitchen with Mary and invites her to share his meal: a…salad that he makes himself.
He then takes her to the wine cellar that he knows much better than the owner, who allows him to take precious, unique wines at home.
Nevertheless, the knowledge that this man has covers more important territory, for he is acquainted with leaders and ruling classes.
He has some very despicable stories to tell, including one in which rulers say about the Nazi concentration camps that the Jewish people have brought this calamity upon themselves…or words to that effect.
It does not get any better, as other inside stories reveal other aspects of racism, with figureheads talking about Africans:
They will not be able to handle it, once we retreat…again, this is not a quote, but it renders the image.
Mary is haunted by the figure of Greville. She even thinks she sees him in a park, only she is passed her prime, while he has the same exact age he had when they first met…
Capturing Mary is …captivating and entertaining.