An elderly woman, Miss Shepherd (Maggie Smith), turns up in a suburb of London and parks her old van in the neighbourhood street. Obviously a tramp, and obviously on the run for a crime, Miss Shepherd lives in her van and becomes the talking point among the neighbours. She forms a fairly close attachment to one Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings) and eventually moves her van into his driveway. Alan is a writer and appears in the film as two persons: one who lives his life and the other who writes about his life. Whilst the kindest towards Miss Shepherd of all his neighbours, Alan nevertheless has his limits and his two selves argue about how to handle the old lady.
The Gift is a slow, intense thriller that builds suspense with every moment. Right from the beginning I found myself anticipating a surprise. The surprises did come, and were made all the more interesting because of the “ordinariness” of the situations in which they occurred.
The interaction of words and pictures in children's literature
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