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A Private Function: Movie Review

Updated on June 10, 2015
A Private Function. Starring Maggie Smith, written by Alan Bennett.
A Private Function. Starring Maggie Smith, written by Alan Bennett. | Source

British humour, an excellent cast - and a pig

This is actually a totally bonkers film, but what can you expect when you look at the cast list? Especially since this film was written by the simply brilliant Alan Bennett. Oh, and the fact that the film is largely about a pig. Yes, that's right. A pig.

A function is planned

In a small town (this is filmed largely in Yorkshire) it is decided that a dinner should be arranged to celebrate the royal wedding between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Yes, this film takes place shortly after the end of the Second World War. And naturally, this will be very select and elite event, you understand.


Of course, this time period means that food rationing is strictly in place. But this is a royal wedding - the townsfolk want to be patriotic. (Plus, they haven't had a decent meal for years). So, strictly against the law, they decide to fatten up a pig especially for the feast.

Enter the social climber

Maggie Smith plays the wife of the rather timid local chiropodist and when it comes to social climbing, she puts Hyacinth Bouquet to shame. She has her own plans for the porky pal but has to persuade her foot-doctor husband to cooperate. The pig - and you'll have to watch the film to find out why - ends up in their suburban home with very smelly results.

A new role in the credits

We're accustomed to seeing various roles described in the credits the end of movies - director, costume designer, stunt man and soon but a new one was included in the credits of this film. And it gives you some idea what it must have been like making this film - and just a hint about what the film is like. This new credit? Bucket boy. And I will leave the implications of that to your own imagination...

A must for any collection

If you're British,or if you love British humour, this is without doubt an essential part of your DVD collection.

Maggie Smith is always perfectly brilliant. With a story written by Alan Bennett, you can't go wrong. Note too the Yorkshire connection - the movie was filmed mostly in Ilkley and Bennett is, of course, from Leeds.

The film has many prestigious actors but add to that a pig, and there's bound to be mayhem.

Thirty years later...

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

I watched this recently and highly recommend it.

As you can see from the cover it also stars Maggie Smith. In this film she has lost none of the fastidiousness she displayed in A Private Function so how will she fare in a low budget hotel in India?

She's accompanied by many award winning actors in this film and I recommend it highly.


A Private Function - the official trailer

This will help to give you some idea of the film. (Watch for the brilliant Alison Steadman - another favourite actress). Note too that this award winning film was directed by none other than George Harrison - someone else who knew only too well about life in postwar northern England.

The video below makes me chuckle because it gives the viewer the idea that this film is rife with evil - it makes it seem a little like The Godfather or something of that ilk.

Of course, there is no similarity between the two films but it just goes to show how seriously the people of the town regard ... a pig.

Oh, and one of my favourite quotes comes from Maggie Smith right at the end of this clip.

Maggie Smith started her illustrious career in revue. This short documentary tells you how she got started in the theatre.

It's really quite fascinating to hear what others have to say about this brilliant actress. Often we, as the audience, realise that someone is playing their parts brilliantly but we don't know exactly why. It's hard to put a finger on it.

That's why it's so fascinating to hear what those within the industry - experts in their own right - have to say.


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    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @CherylsArt: It's very funny, that's for sure :)

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      4 years ago from West Virginia

      Sounds like a fun movie.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Brite-Ideas: Remembering what you said about your mum before, I think you're right :) In fact,speaking of mothers, the couple in this film have a daft old mum living with them. (I'll have to take another look - I forget whether she's the mum of him or her). You know when posh women screw their faces up and lower their voice sometimes? Maggie Smith does it brilliantly in this film.When the old mum is being particularly daft, Maggie Smith says 'She's 74 you know' which always makes me chuckle. And when the neighbours smell the pig, she says 'it's mother'.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      this sounds like something I would enjoy (but I'll bet my mom would too)


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