Happy National Tea Day!
Whether you like it loose, bagged, or strained, Britain has a love for tea in all its gloriousness.
So why not have a look at some of the best tea scenes in cinema!
Honourable Mention: Any time they drink tea in Emma (2020)
Having tea and cake is often perceived as a quintessentially British activity. So it is only natural that a movie about the more charming side of English life would feature tea. Adapted from a children’s book series by Michael Bond, Paul King’s Paddington sees a young bear from Peru who finds himself taking into care by the Brown family. All the while he is being hunted by a taxidermist. This scene sees the Browns take the haphazard young bear to a tearoom whilst they decide on what to do with him. However, his table manners are undesirable as he pours it straight from the teapot. It’s quaint and sweet. We couldn’t write this article without including everyone’s favourite bear!
The Importance of Earnest (1952)
Based on a play by Oscar Wilde, this movie sees two men pretend to be something they are not to woo two ladies. These women are Gwendolen Fairfax and Cecily Cardew, who, in a brilliant scene, meet over an afternoon tea outside. It is a fine example of British politeness that hides cutting remarks about each other. As they dine on tea and cake, they make bitty conversation that makes a certain distaste for one another. There are some cracking deliveries here, especially when it comes to lumps of sugar in the tea. Plus, there is a butler who treats the moment like a tennis match as they spar between one another.
Mary Poppins (1964)
Tell me, as a child how much did you want to have a tea party on the ceiling? Always. In one of the film’s most iconic sequences, magical nanny Mary Poppins visits Uncle Albert who has a hilarious habit for breaking into hysterics. However, when he does, he winds up floating on the ceiling. When Burt, Mary, and the children wind up laughing just as much as he, they to join him and decide to have an upside down tea party. They burst into the song “I Love To Laugh’ which is a favourite – especially when they try to impersonate all the giggles a person can do!
Michael Peterson, otherwise known as Charles Bronson was considered Britain’s most violent criminal. In Nicolas Winding Refn’s dark comedy, Tom Hardy assumes the role of the titular man in this devilish black comedy ride. It is best known for its violence as Peterson rioted and held many people hostage during his time locked up. However, in one of its calmer scenes, you see Peterson pushing a tea trolley around, giving cups to the guards. Along comes a prisoner Paul
Daniels (played wonderfully by Matt King) singing “Tea for Two.” Bronson offers him a cup and Daniels admires his “guns.” As Bronson flexes, you get a glimpse of the violence that is constantly brewing underneath the muscled surface.
The Elephant Man (1980)
David Lynch’s black and white depiction of a Victorian London through the eyes of Joseph Merrick (here named John Merrick) is a marvellous one. With gorgeous cinematography and enthralling performances by John Hurt and Anthony Hopkins, The Elephant Man is a great film with a heightened moral message as well. Tea and high-society were popular in Victorian society so it is natural that it would feature here. However, there are different meanings behind them. For example, as the upper echelon’s dine with John, it is hinted that he may have swapped being in one freak-show for another, just with polite table manners.
However, the most memorable tea scene here is when John is invited back to Doctor Frederick Treaves home for a cup of tea. As John meets Treaves’ wife Ann, he breaks down – no one had ever been so kind and polite to him before. It is a tender sequence.
Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010)
Edgar Wright’s action comedy movie was based on a series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O’Malley. It saw Scott as a hapless bassist for a boring band. One day, he meets the beautiful Ramona Flowers but is dismayed when he discovers he has to battle her seven evil exes. Visually sharp and ferociously hilarious, Scott Pilgrim is an extremely fun movie. The tea scene in particular is pretty excellent. Ramona invites Scott over for a “sleepover” and asks him if he wants a cup. She opens the cupboard and finds an entire treasure trove of teas – listing the flavours in an iconic monologue. It certainly did inspire this writer to create her own similar tea cupboard.
Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Lewis Carol’s adventure story is a brilliant and colour filled scape that has been told countless times. However, it is the Disney animated version which is often fondly remembered. The story sees the titular character follow a white rabbit down a hole. She finds herself in a magical world imaginary where flowers can talk, playing cards spring to life, and a maniacal queen tries to lop off her head. In a memorable sequence, Alice meets the Mad Hatter and the March hair who have a crazed tea party. It’s a quirky and a fantastic sequence, especially when they break into the Very Merry Unbirthday Song.
Now let’s all have a cup of tea and wait for this to blow over.