Like the title character, a courtly widow settling into a lonely residential hotel, Dame Joan Plowright has earned a bit of dignity; it’s a pleasure to see her holding down a substantial drama instead of playing the fool in garbage like Bringing Down the House. Mrs. Palfrey is the sort of woman who dresses up for breakfast, and though her health is sound, she seems resigned to a rapidly deepening twilight. One day she collides on the street with a goofy young writer (Rupert Friend), and their friendship grows despite the half-century difference in their ages. Adapted from a novel by Elizabeth Taylor, this 2005 drama is occasionally cloying, but the distinguished British cast (Anna Massey, Robert Lang, Georgina Hale, Millicent Martin) generates considerable gravitas. Dan Ireland directed. 108 min.