Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont (2005) - full transcript

Mrs. Palfrey, recently widowed after a long happy marriage, moves into a London residential hotel more lively and elegant on line than in fact. She determines to make the best of it among an odd assortment of people, and she particularly hopes her grandson, a London resident, will visit. When she slips on a walk and is aided by a penniless young writer, she invites him to dine at the Claremont and plays along when her dining mates assume he's her grandson. A friendship develops giving her a companion with whom she can talk about memories and poetry and giving him ideas and support for his writing. But what of her actual family? How it plays out is the movie's story.

- ♪

She came from
a world of sensible choices.

Nothing in her life
had prepared her

for the loud confusion of
her unexpected present.

- ♪

- ♪

the name of the hotel, ma'am?

The Claremont.
Do you know it?

- There are lots of old hotels
in Lancaster Gate.

Have you stayed
there before?

Oh, no.
No, I haven't.

I saw it advertised
in a magazine

when I was visiting
my daughter in Scotland.

It sounded nice.

It mentioned
excellent cuisine.

- "Excellent cuisine"?

Here in England?

You don't get good
food in England.

- ♪

- ♪ off the foot

of the left post.

Charleston are shattered,

but York has scored
for Manchester United.

- Thank you.
- Could you help me in?

Oh, really!

- ♪

- I had imagined
something quite different.

Ah... Ah...

Morning, ma'am.
Welcome to the Claremont.

Help you with the bags?
- Please.

Thank you.

There. Follow me, ma'am.
- Thank you.

- ♪

- ♪


- Good morning.
- Good morning.

- I'm Mrs. Arthur Palfrey.
I have a reservation.

- Oh, yes. Mrs. Palfrey.
Welcome to the Claremont.

We've been expecting you.

A single room
by the month.

Now, dinner is served
at 7 p.m. promptly.

Breakfast is from 7:00 a.m.
until 9:00 a.m.,

and you'll find the menus
posted in the lift.

Um, you're not
a vegetarian, are you?

- What?
- You're not a vegetarian.

- No.

- Oh, good, because
we don't cater to them.


- Uh, is it a nice room?
- Oh, yes.

One of our very best.

- Oh, thank you.
- Right.

This way, miss.

- ♪

There. There.

- ♪

- Could... could you
hold that, miss?

Well... That's it.

Bag thuds]

Oh, dear...

All... All this...
stuff on the...

There. There.

Oh, uh, the bath.

It's down the hall
to your left.

I suggest you let the water
run for about five minutes,

if you want it hot.

- Yes.
- Oh! Oh!

Thank you, ma'am. Yes.

If I was you, I'd get up
nice and early.


To avoid the rush.

Thank you.
- Yes.

- Hmm.

Oh, dear.

- ♪

- ♪

- "First impressions,"
as Mama used to say.

- Oh, Lord!

- ♪

- ♪

- Oh, dear.

Good evening, ma'am.

- Good evening.
- Follow me.

This'll be your
regular table.

I'm Violet. I'll be
your regular waitress,

and if you'd like to keep
some of your own things

on the table,
just let me know.

- Oh, that's kind of you.

I do have a special
marmalade I prefer.

And perhaps my own packet
of crisp bread.

Well, just leave them with me,

and I'll see that they're
at your place each morning.

- Thank you.

- Were you going
to the theater?

- Uh, perhaps.

- Okay?
- Thank you.

Not enough salt on
this anyway, so...

Oh, that's better.


- Good evening.
I'm Elvira Arbuthnot.

I thought of introducing myself
and coming to your rescue.

- Oh. Oh, thank you.

I'm Sarah Palfrey.
- I know.

Rule number 1--

We under-dress
for dinner here.

An attempt to blend in
with the surroundings.

- Oh, dear.

- I'm on my way to
the television room.

Takes me a long time
to get there,

so I leave a bit
before everyone else.

We take our coffee there

and watch the latest
serial on the telly.

I'd be glad
if you joined me...

if you're not
faint of heart.

- Well, what on earth
do you watch?

One of those gruesome
American things?

- Yes.

"Sex and the City."

I watch it in weekly doses,
like a medicine.

It makes me feel better

knowing I'm not going
to be around much longer.

Mrs. Burton,
"Sex and the City."


Oh. I'm Shirley.
Shirley Burton.

Welcome to the Claremont.

- Why, thank you.
I'm Sarah Palfrey.

- So I've been told.

Will you be joining us tonight
for our little escapade?

- Uh, no, not tonight.

- Oh! You don't know
what you're missing, dear.

It's a rerun of a rerun.

I've seen it at least
three times.

Oh! Spicy.

Mrs. Burton!

- Something we desperately
need around here.

- ♪

- Oh, Arthur, what have
I got myself into?

- Violet?

I don't want any
strawberry jam.

- But you always have
strawberry jam.

- Precisely. I'm sick and tired
of strawberry jam.

I'm allowed to make
some changes, aren't I?

Remember, I'm a guest here,
not an inmate.

- Would you like to try
some of my marmalade?

- Oh, no, thank you,
Mrs. Palfrey.

I'm just
exercising my rights.

Keeps my heart going.

- Oh. Good for you.

- A little thing I learned
from Mrs. Thatcher.

- Good morning. How do you do?
I'm Vera Post.

- Good morning.
I'm Sarah Palfrey.

- Yes, I know.

I hope we're going to
have the pleasure

of having you here
for a long time.

How long do you
plan to stay?

- Well, I'm not sure.
I'm taking it month-by-month.

- Oh, good. Do you have
relatives in London?

- Uh, yes, yes.

I have a grandson, Desmond.

He works at
the British Archives.

- Marvelous.

I suppose we'll be seeing
a lot of him, then.

- Well, he's a very
busy young man.

- They all are.

- I have my whole family
in Bournemouth,

but they come to
visit me constantly.

- How lovely for you.

- I'm seriously considering
moving there myself.

- Ah, that would be nice.

The weather is
certainly milder.

- Yes.

It's such a lively place.
There's so much going on.

- Well, I would've thought

there was always something
going on in London.

- It's true, but one just
doesn't seem to go to it.

Widow, are you?

- Mrs. Post, isn't it a bit too
early for interrogations?

- I'm sorry.
I didn't mean to pr--

- No, no, no.
It's quite all right.

And yes, yes,
I am a widow.

- So am I. Yes.

So is Mrs. Arbuthnot.
- Twice.

- Orange marmalade.
That all right, Your Highness?

- Temper, temper, my child.

- Anything special
for you ladies?

- No, thank you.

I've been thinking of
calling my grandson

and inviting him
here for lunch.

- On a Sunday.
- "Sunday"?

- Sundays, the roast beef's
almost decent.

- Hello?
- Hello, Desmond--

I'm not here,
as you can see...

- Oh, Lord.
It's one of those things.

- leave a message.

Uh... hello, Desmond.

It's your grandmother.

I'm sure your mother has told
you that I'm here in London,

and I would like to invite
you to lunch here on Sunday,

if you're not busy.

I would love to see you
and show you off.

So call me at the Claremont
Hotel whenever you can.

All right?

Well, I'll, uh... I'll say
goodbye now then, dear, and--

Oh, no! Hello, Desmond?

- Oh! Of course
it's not working now.

As the weeks flew by,

she did her best to convince
herself she was all right.

- Telephone.

Mr. Osborne, telephone.

- ♪

Her days
started to meld into

one long waiting hour.

- Mrs. Burton, telephone.

She began
to run out of excuses

or explanations for why
her grandson never called,

when suddenly she realized
that nobody ever called.

- Mrs. Palfrey,
"schook" is not a word.

So it'll be a rainy day...

- Did you hear that?

"Ra-a-a-ainy da-a-a-ay."

We are going to have
a "ra-a-a-ainy da-a-a-ay."

What? What? What?

- There was a time when
our radio announcers

could actually pronounce
the phrase "rainy day."

Good Lord, what is
the BBC coming to?

- I don't know, sir.

The outlook
for the next few days

is more rain and fog.

- Excuse me? Do you think
it's going to rain?

- Probably.
- Oh, dear.

Um, how far away
is the post office?

- Fourth turning on the right,
second left.

- Very well. Well,
I'll take my chances.

- Oh, Mrs. Palfrey,
I'm so glad I caught you.

Would you do me
the slightest favor?

- Uh, I was just on my way
to the post office.

- Oh, perfect. Would you
be kind enough to

stop at the library
and pick up a book for me?

They have it waiting
for me at the front desk.

It's right on your way.

Here's my library card.
Thank you.

- Fourth turning on the right,
second on the left.

You can't miss it.

- Thank you.

It took
her several drafts

to write the perfect
letter to her daughter

expressing, with restraint,

her concern for
Desmond's silence.

As, at many other
times in her life,

she questioned how
the contents of her letter

would be interpreted.

Would she appear needy
or lonely or both?

- ♪

- Oh, Lord.

- ♪


- Here, let me help you.

- I'm quite all right,
thank you.

- No, you're not.

Now, why don't you come in,
sit down for a minute, hmm?

Come on.


All right, take my hand.

Mind the step.

- I think...
I've hurt my knee.

- There's a step...

just coming here.

All right?

Just give me one moment.

At least we avoided
the paparazzi.

Let me see this leg.

It's not that deep. You'll
probably live another day.

I've got some
disinfectant somewhere.

- You're very kind.
- My name is Ludovic Meyer...

and I'm not joking.

To add insult to injury,
people call me Ludo.

- I'm Sarah Palfrey.

- You're pulling my leg.
- No, I'm not.

- Then we have
something in common.

We both have ridiculous names.

Now I'm sorry I don't have
any cotton wool for this,

but I can assure you this
shirt is 100 percent cotton.

- You mustn't do that.

- Does that sting?
- Oh, just... just a little.

How does that feel?
- That's better.

- Are you sure?
- Yes.

- Can you stand on it?

- Well, I'll try.


Yes, I...

Yes. I was more
shocked than anything.

- Well, brilliant.

Would you like
a cup of tea?

- Oh, no, no.
No, thank you.

I've been enough of
a nuisance already.

- Oh, nonsense. I was just
gonna make one for myself.

- Now, were you really?

- Scout's honor.

- Well, in that case, yes,
it would be very nice.

- Excellent.
Have a seat, ma'am.

Just got off work
in time for your rescue.

- Well, that was very
lucky for me.

- Just trying to
find another mug.

Don't usually have guests.

- Oh, have you not
lived here very long?

- Oh, it's not mine.
I'm house-sitting.

I get it rent-free.

I do other jobs for money.

- Are you a musician?
- What makes you say that?

- Well, the...
- Oh.

No, no, no. I'm just a busker.
- A busker?

- You know, one of
those people who

plays on the street
for money.


- I... am a writer.

Without a laptop.

I sit in coffee shops
and write

until they ask me to leave.

Then I come home
to my old faithful

Remington Quiet Model One and...


- ...until the neighbors
shout obscenities at me.


- Have you had
anything published?

- No, of course, I haven't.

But I'm still trying.

- Well, it takes time.
You're very young.

- I've been hearing that
for the past 26 years.

- Twenty-six?
My grandson is 26.

- Oh.

- Oh, goodness me.
Look at the time.

I'm going to be
late for dinner.

- Oh, are you going far?
- No, not far.

The Claremont Hotel
at Lancaster Gate.

- Oh, well, I'll whistle
up a cab for you.

- Thank you.


Your cab awaits, ma'am.

- I would be delighted
if you would come

and have dinner
with me one evening.

- At the Claremont?

- I'd like to repay
your kindness in some way.

- Why, that would be
very grand.

- Would Saturday suit you?

- Why not?

Saturday would be lovely.

- There you are! I'd begun
to fear you'd been abducted.

- Oh, not quite, but I did
have a little adventure.

- Oh, so did Lady Chatterley,
from the looks of it.

- Oh, yes, I'm sorry.
I dropped it.

Quite unintentionally,
of course.

- Nevertheless, it was
very kind of you.

- I'm having a guest
for dinner on Saturday.

A young gentleman.
- Finally!

We're finally going to meet
this mythical grandson.

- Oh, how lovely!

Is he married?
Does he have a girlfriend?

- Uh, no, I don't think so.

- Oh! Splendid!

Oh, dear.

- ♪

- ♪

- Oh, excuse me, I was wondering
if you lived around here?

- I do. How can I help you?

- Well, I'm looking
for a young man.

He lives in one of
these basement flats.

He's a writer.
His name is Ludovic Meyer.

- Mrs. Palfrey!
- Oh, there he is now. Sorry.

Hello. Oh, Ludo,
thank goodness I found you.

- How's your leg?
- Oh, the leg's fine.

I'm afraid I've gone
and put my foot in it.

I may steal that line,
if you don't mind.

- Wha--sorry?

- Nothing. Would you
like some tea?

- Oh, no. No, thank you.

Uh, I had to come
and tell you

because I've got myself
into a bit of a mess.

- Oh, don't tell me
the police are after you.

- No, no, please don't laugh.
This is serious.

- All right. Sorry. Go on.

- Well, quite recklessly
I've announced that

I have a young visitor
for dinner on Saturday,

and everybody assumed it
was my grandson, Desmond.

- So?

- Well, I didn't deny it.

I just let it go.
It was such a surprise.

You see, he never
came to visit.

He didn't even call.

So they all refer to him
as my "mythical" grandson.

- Well, I don't
see the problem.

Why don't I be your
grandson for the evening?

- Oh, would you?
- Well, of course.

- Would you, really?
- Well, of course.

Between you and me, I've never
really had a grandmother.

- Well, everybody
has a grandmother.

- True, but I never met mine.

- Oh? Oh, well, thank you,

And this is for you.
- Oh, you shouldn't have.

It's what grandmothers do.

Open it up.

I hope it fits.
It's 100 % cotton, you know?

- Oh! It's lovely.
Thank you.

Now, what do I call you?

Is it "Grandmother"?

I mean, if I call you
"Mrs. Palfrey"

in front of everyone--

- Oh. Uh, well,
when he was a tiny tot,

Desmond used to
call me "Sasa."

- Right. Who's Desmond?
- Well, my real..., uh,
my other grandson.

Right and what does
Desmond wear?

Oh, don't worry.
I'll work something out.

Till Saturday, Sasa.

- I do hope he's got
a decent pair of shoes.

- Hello, Sasa.
You look ravishing.

- Well, you look very
nice, too.

Are you ready
for our entrance?

- Absolutely.

By the way,
what's my name again?

- Oh, dear. Desmond.


- Who's Desmond?


I'm a brilliant actor...

when I have to be.

- Thank you.

Would you pour
the wine, dear?

- Of course.

- Oh, Mrs. Post.
Good evening.

- And this is
your grandson?

- I'm Desmond.

- Of course. I can see.

The resemblance
is uncanny.

Oh, but please,
sit down.

It's so nice
finally to meet you.

We've heard so much
about you.

Are you enjoying
your job in the Archives?

I can't imagine such
an important thing.

Are you open on Sundays?

- No.
- Yes.

- Sorry, did you say "open"?

I thought you said
do I work on Sundays?

We are open 365 days a year,
seven days a week.

We're... open.

- I hope we can see more
of you in the future.

I have a niece.
She's quite lovely.

She comes to visit
me on Thursdays.

You didn't tell me he was such
a good-looking young man.

I-I suppose you have
a girlfriend, d-do you?

- Mrs. Post!

Postpone interrogations
for later.

Let them have
dinner in peace.

- Sorry. I didn't mean to...

- Good evening.
- Mrs. Arbuthnot.

- I'm--
- I know.

Welcome to
the Claremont, young man.

I hope you have
a strong stomach.

- Good Lord, we're trapped in
a Terence Rattigan play.

- Mrs. Arbuthnot has been
at the Claremont for years.

- Yes, I can see.

It's entered her soul.

- People aren't always
what they seem.

She was very kind to me
on my first night here.

- You're quite right.

As the poet would say, "We see
into the life of things."

- That's Wordsworth.

- Indeed.
Do you enjoy him?

- Oh, yes.
He's my traveling companion.

I take him everywhere.
And you?

- I like him,
but William Blake's my man.

- Oh! That was Arthur's
favorite poet.

- Who's Arthur?

Your grandfather, dear.

- Oh, yes, of course.

Well, there you are.
You see, it runs in the family.

- Thank you.

- Thank you.
- Thank you.

How do you do?

- Fine, thank you.

- Bye-bye.

- You know, I'm enjoying
this too much.

Do you think
that's wicked?

- No. Enjoy it
as much as you can.

I've never enjoyed
myself more...

with my clothes on.

- Thanks.

May I be brutally frank?

- Oh, dear. I don't know.

- What are you doing here?

You don't seem to belong.

- Well, that's a long story.

I must confess, I feel
quite comfortable here.

And safe.

According to Mrs. Arbuthnot,
you're not allowed to die here.

Well, that may be
wishful thinking on her part.

I don't know. I imagined you
traveling the world,

visiting exotic places.

- Oh, I did that.
In the past, with Arthur.

- Grandpapa.

- He would've
liked you very much.

And vice-versa.

- I'm so, so sorry
to interrupt.

- Uh, Mrs. Burton.

- I'm just off to the theater
with some friends

and I didn't want to miss
the grand opportunity

of meeting your grandson.

Hello, darling.
Shirley. Shirley Burton.

- Desmond.
How do you do?

- I see that good looks
and charm runs in the family.

- That's very kind of you.

- You have good genes,
Mrs. Palfrey.

- Isn't it remarkable how people
see what they want to see.

- Yes. Remarkable.

You don't have to
see me out.

- I don't have to,
but I want to.

I don't know
how to thank you.

You have no idea how much
this has meant to me.

- Well, it's reciprocal.

You've given me
ideas, Mrs. Palfrey.

- Oh?

- A story is shaping up
in my mind,

something you could
help me with.

- Oh, tell me.

- Would you share with me

some of the things that matter
to you from your life.

And in return, I can
show you some from mine.

- Most of the things
that mattered to me

are not around anymore.

I live in here...

and here.

- That's exactly what I mean.

- Mrs. Palfrey!

He's divine!

I can't wait for him
to meet my niece.

Something tells me,
Mrs. Palfrey,

that we'll end up
being relatives.

- Mrs. Post, please don't
frighten the poor woman.

- Mrs. Palfrey, hello.

Although we haven't
officially met,

I'm Lorna De Salis,
and this is my son, Willie.

- Oh, how do you do?

- We're staying at
the Claremont for a brief period

until the renovations of our
apartment are complete.

We're theater people.

Oh, we come from generations
of theater people.

And although I have recently
retired from the stage,

Willie runs an amateur dramatic
group for young actors

whom he believes to
hold great promise.

And sometimes I help out.

Do you think your grandson
might be interested

in joining our little group?

I mean, Willie thinks
he has the makings

of a splendid leading man.

Don't you, dear?
- Oh, Indeed I do, Mother.

- Uh, well, I don't know.

I mean, he's a write--

He's very busy
at the Archives.

- "Archives"?

- Yes, at the British Museum.

- But a face like that

can't be locked away
in the Archives.

It should be seen--
on the stage,

on the box,
on the screen.

- Willie, dear,
now, calm yourself.

Remember your
blood pressure.

He can be rather
exuberant at times,

but it's what makes him
such a brilliant actor.

Now, do let us know
what your grandson thinks.

- I shall.
- Good night.

- Good evening.

- To meet a young man,
in this day and age,

with such impeccable manners,

tells me more about you,
Mrs. Palfrey, than about him.

Well, thank you, Mr. Osborne.

But I think a little credit
should go to my daughter.

- There's more to you than meets
the eye, Mrs. Palfrey.

- ♪

- ♪

- Mrs. Palfrey.

Telephone. Your grandson.

- ♪

- Desmond?
- Good morning, Sasa.

Listen, I've been
writing all night.

Oh, it is you.

You've been a great success
at the Claremont.

- You mean "we" have been a
great success at the Claremont.

Sasa, have you noticed

what an unusually
beautiful day it is?

"And Mrs. Arbuthnot
smiled like a dragonfly

as she awaited the soup
she knew would come."

Now, what do you think?
Do you recognize yourself?

Am I getting it right?

- I don't think accuracy

should interfere
with a good story,

but you didn't know me
when I was happily married.

I was lucky enough to find
the almost-perfect man.

- "Almost"?

- He left me too early.
We were still in love.

But what he did
by dying before me

was to make me
call on strengths

I never knew I had--

to appreciate independence

and not to fear
the approach

of my own last
days on earth.

Oh, but at your age,

one is not equipped to
think that way, thank God.

- Ludo.

- Rosie.


Uh, I don't think you've
met my grandmother.

- Your grandmother?

- Sasa, this is Rosie. Remember,
I told you about her.

- Oh, yeah.
Oh, forgive me, darling.

You know I forget
everything these days.

How do you do?

- Uh, Sasa, would you
excuse us for just one moment?

- Yes.

Rosie. Rosie!

- What the hell happened to you?

I woke up one morning,
and you were gone--vanished.

Just a pair of dirty
socks to remember you by.

- From our last time together,

I thought I was
doing you a favor.

- You were.

- You deserve better
than me anyway.

- I do.

And now that we've
cleared that up,

what's with the grandmother?

- What do you mean?
- Your grandmother's dead.

- Yeah, most humans have
two grandmothers, Rosie.

- So she's the American one?

- Yeah. Can't you tell?

What do I know?

When I first saw the two of you
from a distance, I thought,

Shit, Ludo's entering
a new stage--

"Harold and Maude"--
if you know what I mean.

- Yeah, well, you
got it wrong, as usual.

It's nice to see you, Rosie.

- Wish I could say the same.

I was
wondering why a young man

of so many qualities
didn't have a girlfriend.

Or a wife.

My qualities are more
honeymoon than mortgage.


I just mean
I'm not very successful

in the relationship

- Oh.

- For instance,
I have a mother...

- I suspected as much.

- ...who I haven't
seen in months.

- Oh? Why?

- I don't know. We live
on different planets.

I sometimes visit hers,
but she never visits mine.

I always leave
feeling like a stranger.

- I'm afraid I know
exactly what you mean.

And your father?

- My father never made it.

He got tired and died.

- Oh.

- It's very important to praise
people a lot early on...

otherwise they might
die of disappointment.

My, uh, mother's
disappointed in me.

- Well, she shouldn't be.

I'd very much
like to meet her.

- Well, what's the matter?

- Sorry. It's just the thought
of you two together.

It's nothing, really.
It's just the thought.

Quite bizarre.

- Hm.

- ♪

- Uh, I think I'd like something
quite different this morning.

Fresh orange juice--

not the stuff
out of a bottle--

and scrambled eggs.

- Whatever you say, ma'am.

- Well, there you are.


Well, what on earth
are you doing here?

- Well, you called me.

- But that was weeks ago.

Look, look, we can't
talk here.

We must go somewhere
more private.

Don't say a word.
Just follow me.

- What the hell
is going on, grandmother?

- Shh! Lower your voice.

They don't encourage
visitors here.

Especially relatives.
- Well, that's absurd.

- Yes, I agree, it is absurd,
but those are the rules.

Now, if you want to have
lunch or dinner with me,

I'd be delighted,
but we can't do it here,

and you must give me
a little more notice.

So, you choose a day.

- Well, I'm rather
busy these days.

I'm writing a book.
- What?

- On Cycladic art.

- Well, that should
be interesting.

- What shall I report
back to Mother?

After all,
that's why I'm here.

- Well, don't worry
about that.

I'll tell her.

Now, you really
must go, Desmond.

Off you go.

I'd like to get
back to my breakfast.

- Who was that,
Mrs. Palfrey?

- My... my accountant.

- Oh, accountants.

Why is it they all
look the same?

- I do love him, you know,
and he's very capable,

but he does have the most
dreadful sense of timing.

- One must never love one's
accountant, Mrs. Palfrey.

- True.

What is this?

- Scrambled egg,
just like you ordered.

- Did I?

I must be losing my mind.

- Whatever you say, ma'am.

Mrs. Palfrey,
may I approach?

- What is it, Major?

- "Major"?
Do I look like a Major?

It'll be news to my sister.

- I'm sorry, Mr. Osborne.

My mind is
completely elsewhere.

I've had an unusually
agitated morning.

Oh, please, sit down.

- I completely forgot what
I was going to say.

Oh, well, it happens.

We, all of us, forget things,
from time to time,

no matter how old we are.

- I've remembered
why I came over here.

I... I wanted to extend
an invitation.

- Oh?

- Would you do me the honor

to be my guest
at a Masonic do?

- What does one do at
a Masonic do, Mr. Osborne?

No chanting, I hope.

Or human sacrifices.

- Oh, no, no,
no, no, no, no.

No, no.

No, nothing like that.

It's a ladies' night.

They'd be delighted
if you would come,

and I'd be delighted
if you were to be my guest.

- I would love to come,
Mr. Osborne.

It's a conspiracy.

You should've seen me pushing
my grandson out of the hotel.

I'm going to be ostracized
when they find out.

- By whom? I'm surprised
at you, Mrs. P.

Where's your backbone?

Calm down.
It's only my mother.

- "Only."

- Hello, Mum.

- So, what are you doing?

- I'm writing.

- I mean, for a living.

- You're beginning to sound
like an American.

- Flattery will
get you nowhere.

You have to admit,
I'm a broadminded person.

I don't see my son for months,

and then he comes
and visits me with you,

and I haven't asked for
a single explanation.

- Mrs. Meyer, there is
nothing to explain.

I'm a sort of
honorary grandmother.

Cover your ears.
I'm going to embarrass you.

- I think I'll get
some more tea.

- You know, your son is
a man of many talents,

and he showed me
great kindness

when I was in distress.

I think you should
be proud that

you have brought him up
to be the man he is today,

and in case you were
not aware of it,

you have been often
on his mind.

That is why I was curious

and wanted to meet you.

But please forgive me
if I seem intrusive.

- It might not seem like it,

but I fought to
give him the best.

I never had the luxury of having
a husband to fall back on.

I raised him all by myself,

and I'm damn
proud of it, too.

Oh, I don't regret it
for a single second.

I'd do it all over
again if I had to.

But sometimes things just don't
work out how you hope.

- What do you want?

- ♪

- Ravishing.
Positively ravishing.

- Mr. Osborne,

I suspect you have some
Italian blood in you.

- Irish.

- Ah, that explains it.

Shall we go?

- ♪

- I sense a bad situation
developing here.

- No!

♪ It's never too late
to have a fling ♪

♪ Autumn is just
as nice as spring ♪

♪ 'Cause it's never
too late ♪

♪ To fall in love

♪ Boop-be-doop
Boop-be-doop ♪

♪ Boop-be-doop

♪ It's never too late
to wink an eye ♪

♪ I'll do it until
the day I die ♪

♪ And it's never too late

♪ To fall in love

♪ Boop-be-doop
Boop-be-doop ♪

♪ Boop-be-doop

♪ If I say I'm
too old for you ♪

♪ And wine is nicer nicer

♪ A bom bom bom bom

♪ The old wine tastes
much nicer ♪

♪ It's never too late
to try new things ♪

♪ Da da da da da da

♪ And it's never too late
to fall in love ♪

- ♪ Two, three, four,
five, six, hah! ♪

- Oh, thank you.
Thank you.

Again, I thank you.

- No, I haven't. I haven't
been to France in 35 years.

But Paris is
our favorite city.

- I wish I'd stayed there.

- ♪

- ♪

- Well, that was an improvement
on dinner at the Claremont.

- A very pleasant evening.
Thank you.

- Shall we walk for a bit?

And then,
when we're tired,

we could, uh,
take a taxi.

- If you think
you're up to it.

- Mrs. Palfrey, I can fly!

- Oh, dear.

- I haven't been this
comfortable with a woman

since the last time that I was
comfortable with a woman.

May I call you Sarah?

- It is my name.

- It gets a bit lonely

at the Claremont sometimes,
don't you think?


- I'm not cut out to be
a widower, you know,

and it occurred to me
that if we joined forces,

we could have a better
job of it altogether.

- "Join forces"?

- We'd have a lovely
little cottage

down in Tunbridge Wells.

I have a couple
of chums down there.

- I'm not sure
I quite understand.

- We'd have someone
to keep house for us.

We could go out
on a spree sometimes.

We could do
some entertaining.

We could give cheese
and wine parties.

"Cheese and wine parties"?


Mr. Osborne,
please don't go on.

I think it's time we went
to look for a taxi.

- Not just any old cheese.

Not that, uh, mousetrap stuff

that they serve up at
the Claremont, no, no, no, no.

No. Uh... uh... something
with a real bit of bite in it.

Uh, Black Diamond
or a good wedge of Brie.

I'm not a wealthy man,

but I'm wealthy enough
to give a woman

the life she deserves.

- Mr. Osborne, I came as
your guest this evening,

thinking it was simply
a friendly invitation.

Are you now suggesting
that we live in sin?

- Worse. Much worse.

I'm asking you to marry me.

Oh, please forgive me.

That's very kind of you,

but I hope it is the whiskey
talking and not you.

- I was never more
sober in my life.

Look at me.

- ♪

- Now, no more.
No more, Mr. Osborne.

Please come and sit down.

- Mrs. Palfrey...


will you make me the happiest
man in the world?

- Mr. Osborne, please don't.

Now, let me help you.
Come, sit down.

I want you to listen to me.

- I'm all ears.

- Now, most of my life,

I've been
somebody's daughter,

somebody's wife,
and somebody's mother.

I would like to spend
the rest of my time here

being simply myself.

I do not intend
ever to marry again,

but I have lots
of room for friends.

Will you be my friend?

- I'm greedy.

- Well, perhaps
you should work on that.

And now, shall we
find that taxi?

- ♪

- ♪ There's a lovely lady
that you really should see ♪

♪ To you she may be Sarah
but to me she's Mrs. P. ♪

♪ She's got a hat on her head
- Oh, don't. Shhh.

- ♪ And a stocking on
her wounded... knee ♪

- That was very nice,
but quite uncalled for.

- You get embarrassed
so easily.

- I was not embarrassed.

- You were, too.
I saw you blushing.

- I thought I was too early,

and I didn't want to
distract you from your work.

- Well, I clocked
off an hour ago.

I was just waiting for you.

We're having dinner in my flat.
I've got everything prepared.

- Now you're a chef as well?

- Well, you be
the judge of that.

- Now...


How delicious.

- Really?
- Really.

What do you call this dish?

- Tagliatelle a la zucchini
a la Ludovic.

Golly, Moses.

Maybe it was the wine,

or a friendship that was
growing out of a kind of need.

Sometimes I feel I was born
in the wrong time.

- Why do you say that?

- I don't know.

I suppose I miss the simplicity
of the olden days.

- Well, how do you know
they were simpler?

I'm afraid that's
rather a romantic view

of a past you never knew.

And if you'll forgive
my saying so,

it seems like an excuse
not to deal with your present.

- That's funny. That's what
Rosie kept telling me.

- Oh, dear. Sorry.

- No, it's fine.
It's fine.

I always consider the source
when I'm being analyzed.

And she... had an agenda.
You do not.

- Oh, I wasn't analyzing.

I... I was simply making
an observation as your friend.

- And a very astute
observation it was.

I was reading this paper
the other day,

and there's this quiz,
a personality quiz,

designed to measure your
capacity for friendship.

- Oh. You mean, a quiz
can determine all that?

- Well, I don't know.
Shall we find out?

- Well, why not?

- Good. Now, let's start
with a toughie.

"Do you prefer to be
a guest or a host?"

- Well, I enjoyed our evening
together at the hotel.

But I must confess
I prefer being here.

- "If you were kept
waiting by a friend

"you had arranged to meet,

"would you, a, wait patiently

"and be forgiving when
he or she arrived;

"b, go on waiting,
but have a row

"when whoever
it was turned up;

or c, give up
and go home angry"?

- Well, I know you wouldn't
keep me waiting, uh...

unless there was
a very good reason,

so I would wait patiently
for you to come

and then enjoy
our time together.

- Not just me. Anyone.

- Well, there isn't
anyone else at the moment.

You're the only one
I can think of.

- I, uh...

I haven't many
friends myself.

One needs money
to have friends.

They've all got
cars and jobs.

- One shouldn't let
one's friends slip away.

- Well, there's very little
I can do about it.

But look, you know,
we can do better than this.

Let's make our own quiz.
- All right.

- Okay, your favorite film.

- Well, that would have
to be "Brief Encounter".

- "Brief Encounter"?
- You've never seen it?

- I may have.
I can't remember.

- If you had,
you'd remember.

I was 18 when
I first saw it.

It was my first date
with Arthur.

And by the end,

we were both weeping
so shamelessly

that there was nothing else
else for us to do,

but fall in love.

- Uh, your favorite place?

- On Saturdays,

before our daughter
Elizabeth was born,

we used to slip away
to the Castle Inn,

which is next door
to the Abbey at Bewley,

and we'd have
a sumptuous dinner

and then spend the rest
of the evening...


And on Sundays we'd lie
in bed until noon,

have a late lunch,

and then sit on a bench
by the river

and watch the sun go down.

Oh, it was perfect.

- Yeah.

- Your favorite song.

- "For All We Know."

- For all we know what?

- No, that's the name
of the song.

But you're probably
too young to know it.

- Yeah. Probably.

♪ For all we know

♪ We may never meet again

♪ Before you go

♪ Make this moment

♪ Sweet again

♪ We won't say

♪ Good night

♪ Until the last minute

♪ I'll hold out my hand

♪ And my heart

♪ Will be in it

♪ For all we know

♪ This may only be a dream

♪ But we come and we go

♪ Like the ripples on a stream

♪ For all we know

- ♪

- ♪

- That was a wonderful
night, Desmond.

Thank you, my dear.

- The pleasure is all mine.

Good night, Grandmamma.

♪ Tomorrow was made for some

♪ Tomorrow may never come

♪ For all we know

- Your grandson is most lyrical,
Mrs. Palfrey.

- Yes, I'm afraid
he gets it from me.

- Divine!

- Sorry.

- It's... "Brief Encounter."

- One of my favorites.

Yours, too?

- Maybe. Probably.
I haven't seen it.

- Oh, that's serious.

You know what? I've seen
it hundreds of times.

I can wait a day or so.

Make sure you
bring it back tomorrow.

- I haven't got a player.

- How do you
intend to see it?

- I was gonna cross that
bridge when I came to it.

- I'd say you're on
that bridge right now.

- Do you think...
I should... jump?

- Not with Celia Johnson.

I don't believe
she can swim.

- Hi.

- Excuse me, miss.
- Yes?

I don't suppose...


- I suppose...

I could invite you
to watch it with me...

if I knew you
a little better.

My name's Gwendolyn Guth.

- Honestly?

My name's Ludovic Meyer.

- Honestly?

Well, that's reassuring.

We both have
ridiculous names.

- Bye-bye, M--

Bye-bye. Bye-bye.

Oh, she went... Oh. Yeah.

Uh, bye-bye.

Come back soon.

C-C-Come back soon.

- ♪

- ♪

- Can I help you?

- Do you allow
relatives to visit?

- This is a hotel, madam.

- I know that,
but my son has told me

that relatives are
not permitted.

- Then you were misinformed,
madam or your son was.

The Claremont is
open to anyone.

Or almost anyone.
How can I help you?

- My mother is one of
your guests here.

Her name is
Mrs. Arthur Palfrey.

- Mrs. Palfrey?

Well, yes, of course.
Why didn't you say so?

You must be Elizabeth.

- Yes, indeed, and you are?

- The manager.

- Summers?
- Yeah?

Mrs. Palfrey, your daughter.

- Mother.
- Elizabeth!

What are you do--
- Don't get up.

- Well, this is a surprise.

If I'd have known
you were coming,

I'd have arranged
something more festive.

- Please, Mother,
I didn't come here for fun.

- Is there something wrong?

- As a matter of fact,
there is.

Desmond called me.
He's quite beside himself.

He said you got rid
of him very quickly

with some strange excuse.
- Did I?

- You told him that visits from
relatives were not allowed.

But according to the manager,
that is not true.

- Well, the truth is,
I called him several times,

and he never even
bothered to reply.

And then he turned up here

totally unannounced at
a most inopportune moment.

- What do you mean?
- I had other plans.

If you remember, Elizabeth,
I came to live in London

in order not to be
your responsibility,

and to accustom myself to
a little practical independence.

- So, am I right in thinking

that you don't want us
to come and visit you?

- Why, no, dear.
No, no, no. Not at all.

But it's just,
please understand,

I am making a life
of my own here

and quite enjoying it.

I thought you'd
be glad for me.

- Well, I am,
but it's my duty

to see that you're safe
and properly looked-after.

- Do you see that

gentleman with the mustache
sitting over there?

- What about him?

- He's asked me
to marry him.

- What?

- Well, don't look
so astonished.

I've turned him down,

but a romantic friendship
at my time of life is...

Well, it's quite

Really, Mother.

Don't you think it's a bit
late in life for you to--

I just can't believe
you're serious.

- Oh, and what
can't you believe?




- Get an ambulance!



- It's all right,
Mrs. Arbuthnot.

Help is on its way.

- Thank you, Mrs. Palfrey.

Don't worry.

We aren't allowed
to die here.

- Shh. Don't try to speak.

- Tell them not to
hurry on my account.

I'm ready,
you know, my dear.

I've been ready
for a long time.

- ♪

- ♪

I'm ready, you know, my dear.

- ♪

- I've been ready
for a long time.

- ♪

- ♪

- Our appointment, Mrs. P.,
was on that corner over there.

I stood there like an idiot
for about 20 minutes.

I was propositioned
by three women,

one man, and a dog.

- Oh...
- What is it, Mrs. P?

- I think I may be
coming down with something.

I... I don't feel
at all well.


we must postpone our visit
to Bewley Castle.

- Oh. Oh, I'm sorry.

Gwendolyn was so looking
forward to meeting you.

- Oh, and I'm most anxious
to meet her, too,

but when I'm a bit
more up to it.

- Don't worry.
We can do it another day.

Let me walk you back.

- Would you, please?
That would be very kind.

Thank you, my friend...

in charge of cheerfulness.

- Is that attached
to some other sentence,

or is it supposed to
hang there in midair?

- Ludovic Meyer,

in charge of cheerfulness.

That should
complete the thought.

- Lucky me,

to have tripped
into your life.

- And vice-versa.

Mrs. P?

What shall I do not to make
Gwendolyn jealous of you?

- I shall give you
my birth certificate.

- I've always wanted
to visit Bewley.

My parents tell me
it's quite unique.

- Yes, it is rather special...

like you.

Does he instruct
you to say that

to all his girlfriends?

- Oh, no, dear, only you.

No, I didn't mean...

- ♪

- ♪

She danced
around her memories

with the agile step
of a young girl.

Her stories became vivid
to the young couple's eyes,

and all of a sudden,
the past became the present

for a little while.

- ♪

- ♪


- ♪


- ♪

- I've looked out of
that window with Arthur

on many a Sunday

and known that the memory
of such happiness

would never leave me.

And in time,

if you're lucky...

- Do you believe
in destiny, Mrs. Palfrey?

- Yes, I think I do.

Why do you ask?

- I was just thinking about
you and "Brief Encounter".

If it hadn't been for that,
I wouldn't have met Ludo.

- I'm flattered to think
that I might've played

some small part in it.

But, you know, things
are meant to happen.

Destiny might lead
us to the path,

but the rest of it
is up to us.

Always remember to make
the most of every moment.

It's the single most
important lesson of my life.

- Will you two stop
talking about me,

'cause it's getting
a bit embarrassing.

Excuse me. Who are you?

- We can exist
without you, you know?

And in case you haven't heard,
we are the stronger sex.

- Yes, well, I'm finding
that out the hard way.

- Why don't you two
go off for a while?

I'd like to just
sit here and think.

We'll... We'll join up
again for tea.

- Sure.
- Yep.

- ♪

- ♪

- You'd be very proud
of our adopted grandson.

- ♪

Even the most
romantic aspects of her life

were framed in a square
of realistic practicality.

She knew there were
signs to move on.

However, the question
this time was:

Where to and what for?

- ♪

- ♪

- ♪


- ♪

"My dear Ludo,

"I've been meaning to write,

"and say how much
I enjoyed the day

"we all spent together
at Bewley Castle.

"If you can find the time,

"I would very much like
to take you both to dinner.

"I promise not to subject you
to the Claremont cuisine again.

"Call me whenever you can.

Love, Sasa."

- Writing to Desmond?

- Yes, indeed.

- We've been wondering why

we haven't seen him
here for quite a while.

- He's a young man.

He has a life of his own.

I've encouraged him to stay
away from the Claremont,

not to waste his precious time
with me and the other corpses.

- Oh, come on, Mrs. Palfrey,
what's going on?

We've been observing you.

We couldn't help but notice

that you haven't
been yourself recently.

- Oh, really, Mr. Osborne?

And who am I being?

I think it might be better

if you were all to spend your
time observing each other,

and leave me in peace.

- Mrs. Palfrey!


What have I said?

- Mr. Osborne, I came here
for a little privacy,

not to be observed and not--

Bup! Bup! Bup!

And not to be the subject
of a lot of idle gossip.

I don't wish to be
rude or unkind,

but I would be
enormously grateful

if you'd all stop
observing me.

I'm sorry, Mr. Osborne.

I... I know that
you meant well.

But I would like to be
invisible for a little while,

if that isn't
too much to ask.

- Call an ambulance!

- ♪

- Sarah?



- Any news?
- Her hip.

She's broke her hip.

- Oh, no.
Oh, poor Mrs. Palfrey.

Well, once the hip goes--

- Always looking on
the bright side, Vera.

- Well, I'm just
being realistic.

- No, dear,
just being yourself.

- Well, I've just delivered
Mrs. Palfrey's letter

to a basement flat
in Westbourne Grove.

I mean, who could she
possibly know there?

- I'm looking for
Mrs. Palfrey.

- Sir--
- Mr. Meyer?

Mr. Ludovic Meyer?
- Excuse me?

- I've just delivered a letter
to you from Mrs. Palfrey.

- I'm not Mr. Meyer.

I'm Mrs. Palfrey's
grandson Desmond.

- Oh!
- What's that?

- Excuse me, young man,
whoever you are.

Mrs. Palfrey has
only one grandson.

- Yes, that is correct--me.

- Funny, you don't look
anything like her.

Perhaps you'd care
to describe her.

- No, I really don't
think I would.

- Call the police.

Hold on a moment.

So it is true. You don't allow
relatives to visit here. Yes?

- True. Particularly
fake relatives.

- This is... an insane asylum.

I beg your pardon?

- Oh, don't let him
get away!

- Stop the faker.
- Don't let him go.

- Desmond, he was trying
to pretend to be you.

- Who was?
- He was.

- Well, why have you
got Mr. Meyer's letter

in your hand, Desmond?

- Uh...

Well, um...

It seems the cat's
out of the bag.

I'm Ludovic Meyer.

- Explain yourself,
young fellow.

- Well, I do a bit
of writing on the side...

- Ah! Nom de plume.

- ...under the name
"Ludovic Meyer."

- Well, why didn't you
tell us in the first place?

We can keep
a secret, you know.

- I should change it
to an English name,

one that sticks in the memory
and is easy to pronounce.

- Yes, I'll consider that.
Where's my grandmother?

- ♪

- ♪

- Hello, my Sasa.

- Oh...

I've been... very silly.

Had this little fall.

- Well, you don't need to
worry about anything now.

I'm here.

- I don't want to die

surrounded by
so many strangers.

I need some privacy.

- You're not going to die.

- When Elizabeth comes,

she'll see to it that
I have my own room.

- I'll see to it.

- Oh, dear Ludo,

I would... I would love it
if you could.


I would like
my own nightgowns, too...

and... my book of poetry.

I lie here...

trying to remember...

but I seem to have...

but they all seem to
have gone away.

- "I wandered lonely
as a cloud

that floats on high
o'er vales and hills."

- By Wordsworth.
- Indeed, Mrs. P.

"When all at once
I saw a crowd,

a host, of golden



- "Continuous as..."

- "as the stars that shine...
- Yes.

- ...and twinkle on
the milky way."

I've lost and lost
and lost a line.

It's gone and run away.

- "And oft,

"as on my couch I lie

"in vacant

"or in pensive mood,

"they flash upon

"the inner eye

"which is the bliss

"of solitude;

"And then my heart

with pleasure fills..."

And then...

- Excuse me, sir, you're
going to have to leave now.

- Desmond...

is it true?

- What do you mean?

- They say... there might
be complications.

- Pneumonia,
isn't it, Desmond?

- I don't know. You'll
have to ask the doctor.

- They won't let us
in to see her--

even for a little while.

It's only immediate family.

But we are her
family, too, Desmond.

- Of course you are.

You all are.

It's only for
a little while,

just till she gets better,
which won't be long.

And I think we should
all go home,

and I promise to call you
the moment I hear anything.

- Oh, there you are.

I was wondering
where you were.

- I'm right here.

- I've missed you so much.

I had a beautiful
dream last night.

I saw you and me
standing together

on the day we got married.

Do you remember, Arthur?

- Oh, yes.

Oh, yes, I do.

- I thought you were

the handsomest man
in the whole world.

- And I knew you were
the loveliest girl.

- I would like to do it
all over again.

- We will.

- ♪

Good night, my Sasa.

- ♪

- ♪

- ♪

- Mrs. P., I have
a surprise for you--

You could've at
least told me that she'd died.

- Well, we did leave
several messages, ma'am.

- Yes, but I got back only
in time to hear the message

and catch the train.

Poor Mother. All alone.

- Oh, she wasn't alone.

- Her grandson was
here with her all the time,

and he would read
poetry to her.

- Desmond?
Why, that's impossible.

- I've only just spoken
to him on the phone.

He couldn't be here by now.

- Well, perhaps it was
her other grandson.

- My dear lady,
she only has one grandson.


- Well, madam, there
has been a gentleman

coming in here every day
reading poetry to your mother.

There are
people that cross our lives

in tiny fractions of time,

in the briefest
of encounters,

and yet they leave
an indelible mark

in our hearts and our minds.

Thank you and goodbye, Sasa.

Forever yours, Ludo.

Good morning.

- Hello, dear.

- ♪ We won't say good-bye

♪ Until the last minute

♪ I'll hold out my hand

♪ And my heart will be in it

♪ For all we know

♪ This may only be a dream

♪ We come and go

♪ Like a ripple on a stream

♪ So love me tonight

♪ Tomorrow was made for some

♪ Tomorrow may never come

♪ For all we know

♪ For all we know

♪ This may only be a dream

♪ We come and go

♪ Like a ripple on a stream

♪ So love me tonight

♪ Tomorrow was made for some

♪ Tomorrow may never come

♪ For all we know