Run time: 99 mins
Alan Bennett’s 2018 play is given the big-screen treatment in this hearty tribute to the National Health Service.
When the geriatric ward in a small Yorkshire hospital is threatened with closure, the hospital decides to fight back by rousing the local community, inviting a news crew to film their preparations for a concert in honour of the hospital’s most distinguished nurse. What could possibly go wrong?!
Founded in 1948, the NHS celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. During that time, hospitals have proved fertile ground for filmmakers looking to examine life at its most vulnerable. The pandemic intensified our understanding of how these institutions operate under pressure, and while Bennett’s play was written prior to COVID, it’s no less relevant.
Like some kind of cinematic equivalent of the Tower of London vaults, Allelujah piles a number of national treasures atop one another. Celebrating the spirit of the elderly patients and their carers, this cast of wonderful fully familiar faces do a fitting job in highlighting the deep humanity of the medical staff battling with limited resources and ever-growing demand.
Perhaps don’t expect Marigold Hotel in medical gowns but this is nevertheless a warmhearted film that goes to show how devoted health care workers are and how hard they work.