Adapted by Call the Midwife creator Heidi Thomas from the 2018 play by Alan Bennett, set in a geriatric hospital unit in Yorkshire populated by lovable eccentrics and starring a formidable selection of seasoned British acting talent (Judi Dench, Jennifer Saunders, David Bradley and Derek Jacobi star), Allelujah should be a slam dunk of a crowd-pleaser. Unfortunately, Richard Eyre’s film is jarringly uneven: such a collision of tones and conflicting messages that it undermines its own earnest coda in support of the NHS.
The hospital is threatened by penny-pinching government officials. The medical staff struggle on, undaunted. But what seems to be a stirring tale of a community standing up against the powers that be takes a darker turn as the story swerves unexpectedly – and rather clumsily – into thriller territory.