Helen Mirren fans will delight in this 1997 Brit-mystery TV film (originally a miniseries) that reportedly was written expressly for her by its writer, Allan Cubitt. Painted Lady
equal parts a character study of a remarkable woman (faded blues singer Maggie Sheridan, played by Mirren) and an enthralling murder mystery involving the European art underworld. And a grisly world that is. Mirren’s reclusive Sheridan has taken up residence at the grand Irish estate of her friend Sir Charles Stafford and his troubled son, Sebastian (Iain Glen), and seems content to make her music for a much smaller audience than in her heyday--a handsome young boy toy who may or may not have ulterior motives. When Sir Charles is murdered, Maggie is compelled to help track him down, which means donning a disguise as a wealthy art patron trolling through the art underground looking for a painting stolen at the time of the slaying. Mirren is as deft at playing Maggie the talented almost-has-been singer as she is a fired-up but naïve private investigator. Maggie has none of the street smarts of Mirren’s Prime Suspect
character, Jane Tennison--but there’s a steely determination the characters share. Painted Lady
is a gripping crime thriller starring one of the best actresses ever. Fancy that? --A.T. Hurley
Blues diva turned derelict Maggie Sheridan (Helen Mirren) gets her life back on track with the intervention of a dashing, art-collecting Irish nobleman. But when home-invasion robbers make off with a priceless artwork and leave her benefactor's body in their wake, Maggie goes undercover in the glittering international art world to nail the bandits.