The luminous cast of this musical made-for-cable drama transforms a sweet refrain into a bouncy jam session orchestrated with a gently nostalgic undercurrent of chagrin d'amour. The lesson: You can go home to the bandstand again.
Recently widowed Elizabeth (Judi Dench) picks up her tenor sax after 50 years, shocking her conformist family. The sole exception to the chorus of disapproval is granddaughter Joanna (Millie Findlay). Elizabeth's children's hopes that she'll grow old unobtrusively are dashed after she volunteers to play for Joanna's school dance. Having served out her sentence in a stuffy marriage, Elizabeth intends to cut loose with a reunion of her WWII swing band, the Blonde Bombshells. The Bombshells knocked 'em dead onstage, but conflicts arose offstage as the sole male member of the ensemble Patrick (Ian Holm), who performed in drag to avoid conscription systematically worked his way through his attractive bandmates. Elizabeth nevertheless enlists Patrick's help in scouring the United Kingdom, quickly discovering that old age and illness have taken their toll and thinned the ranks of the band. Of the remaining major players, Dinah (Olympia Dukakis) has become a much-married dowager and Gwen (Cleo Laine) has achieved prominence as a jazz singer. Gwen and Dinah are united in their lack of interest in playing together and anyway, they loathe Patrick, who used to paint a rose on his drum-set for every seduction. But Elizabeth persists, despite her secret worry that she'll never get her estranged Bombshells to join her on stage and that even if she does, Joanna's classmates won't thrill to their dated swing. Although these slightly drawn characters would have benefited from some fleshing out, the stars have a field day filling in the blanks. Not only does the movie celebrate the enduring power of female camaraderie, but it also serves up some hot licks from a bygone era.
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- Released: 2000
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: The luminous cast of this musical made-for-cable drama transforms a sweet refrain into a bouncy jam session orchestrated with a gently nostalgic undercurrent of chagrin d'amour. The lesson: You can go home to the bandstand again. Recently wi… (more)