Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that The Lady in the Van is an adaptation of English playwright/author/actor Alan Bennett's diary, memoir, and play about his unusual friendship with Mary Shepherd, an elderly homeless woman who convinced him to let her park her ramshackle van in his London driveway ... for 15 years. Directed by Bennett's friend and longtime artistic collaborator, Nicholas Hytner, and starring Maggie Smith (who also played Mary in the play and TV versions of the story), the movie is an appealing tale of a unique inter-generational friendship. There are a couple of brief shots of a dead body (one bloody, one peaceful) and some subtle allusions to Alan's amorous late-night visits from younger men (though not even kissing is shown), as well as an uncharacteristic utterance of the expletive "f--king." Otherwise, this is a character study and relationship drama about how sometimes the unlikeliest people can change your life.
Alan subtly flirts with younger men, some of whom "visit" at night, but no sex or even kissing is shown.
Two potentially disturbing scenes: As the film opens, a bicyclist crashes into a van and falls down dead with a bloody head wound (this scene is repeated later in the film); later, a dead character is shown peacefully "asleep."
A couple of uses of "f--king" and a few British curses like "bloody," "bleeding," "sodding," and "sod off."
Messages about the importance of friendship, the knowledge that everyone has an inner life (and a back story that's not always apparent to others), and the idea that some people want to help others in the abstract but just aren't up for it in the day to day.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Adults toast at a dinner/get together.