The Lady Vanishes (2013)

Reviewer: Rissi C.

Set in the 1930’s, this film is one of the most fun British mysteries I’ve encountered since discovering Miss Marple. After a long-standing tradition of seeing “bonnet” costume dramas from BBC, it’s a nice change to indulge in the sassiness of this era. Whether you’re a fan of this time period or just classy mystery, you’ll want to see this cute little British film.
Travelling through Europe by train, Iris Carr (Tuppence Middleton) is accompanied by a group of her ner-do-well so-called friends. They are all currently staying at a quaint hotel shared with a host of fellow guests, including the quiet Reverend Barnes and his wife (Pip Torres, Sandy McDade), a mysterious couple (Julian Rhind-Tutt, Keeley Hawes) who keep to themselves, and the prudish travelling companions sisters Rose and Evelyn Floodporter (Gemma Jones, Stephanie Cole). After an unpleasant confrontation, Iris decides she’s had enough of her friends and elects to remain behind while her party continues on their merry way. After a fall, Iris decides she’s better served travelling with a group and decides to re-join her party.
She barely manages to secure a ticket and boards the train only to find that each of the hotel guests is on board. Iris is soon befriended by a kindly Englishwoman woman named Miss Froy (Selina Cadell), but wakes from sleep to find her companion missing – and no one on the train admits to having ever met the woman. Iris frantically searches for her friend along with the assistance of a university student named Max (Tom Hughes) and his professor (Alex Jennings). Where has Miss Froy gone or is Iris simply crazy?
Costume dramas are always in high demand and no one does it better than filmmakers across the pond. This movie is actually very good and in my opinion was over far too soon! It begins by introducing us to a heroine who is anything but – she’s a selfish, spoiled young woman who really doesn’t know what it means to be a good person (her friends are users and she has no family). Then, she's put into a situation that forces her to look beyond her own comforts, and everything changes. I instantly loved her spunk and of course, eventually when the mystery gets rolling, I was sold on this Hitchcock-esque style of story-telling.
Featuring a familiar array of British talent (everyone from Lark Rise to Candleford to Jane Eyre pops up), Middleton turns in an impressive performance as the (“newbie”) leading lady. There’s a dash of romance to lighten the mood of a script that does get a dark on occasion. Anyone who isn’t fond of an ambiguous ending should probably skip over this, but I actually loved the ending. It was entertaining, upbeat and full of promise. That’s good enough for me. Naturally, the costumes are stylish and pretty, as are the countryside scenes, which I suppose bookends the story because the film is confined to a train. The odd moments and a back-and-forth question wavering between sanity and insanity means this may not be a film for everyone, however if you’re a British film aficionado, you’ll likely enjoy this remake.



Sexual Content:

An extra-marital affair rumor and perhaps a minor innuendo (a women accuses a girl of flirting with/sleeping with her husband).


British slang.



A woman is assaulted and taken against her will, while drugged and another is hidden away, tied up.