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David Mamet is without question one of cinema's most articulate
Those who love his patter will find "The Winslow Boy" an interesting
departure for him. Instead of masterfully laying down the jargon of
("House of Cards", "Glengarry Glen Ross"), he puts his imprimatur on
turn-of-the-century "King's English" with enough Mamet style (phrases
repeated, clever nuance) to make it his own.
Rebecca Pidgeon is gorgeous and graceful; Jeremy Northam is brilliant as Sir Robert Morton, fluid and eloquent (though watch for the brilliant verbal stumble when Kate confronts him about turning down an appointment to the bench near the end of the movie).
One needn't be a complete Anglophile to enjoy this film...but it doesn't hurt to have a love for Jolly Old England. The English can make a discussion of draperies sound positively majestic. And with Mamet's screenplay, well...the combination is potent, indeed.
1999 was a wonderful year for Jeremy Northam and his portrayal of Sir
Robert Morton in this remake of the Winslow Boy was the pinnacle. He
totally becomes this character. It remains a mystery as to how this
performance was ignored by both BAFTA and Oscar.
The film though is not just about Northam and his performance; the entire cast never put a foot wrong. Nigel Hawthorne in what I believe was his last role and Gemma Jones were outstanding as Ronnie's parents. Oh how we all must wish that all parents could be as wonderful as they are. The scene between mother and son in his bedroom when he has been expelled and when his father tells him that he will know if he is lying.
Rebecca Pidgeon as Catherine was assured as the modern woman fighting for women's rights. The chemistry between her and Northam was fabulous. It just goes to show that it is not necessary for a couple to even kiss to show sexual tension. The attraction Sir Robert and Catherine have is evident from their first meeting and yet the most they ever do is shake hands.
I also loved the films setting and costumes. The difference between Catherine the modern Woman's wardrobe and that of her mother from a different generation The final scenes are wonderful with the Audience getting a real sense of what the real Sir Robert is like . I won't spoil the end but stick around for Jeremy Northam's final words but more importantly the look in his eyes and the smile on his face.
This film has no big action scenes, all the enjoyment is in the writing and the subtle acting of the cast especially Jeremy Northam.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film has been one of my favorites for years. However, as
mainstream films such as the "Indiana Jones" sequels continue to
propagate, "The Winslow Boy" seems more and more special.
The members of the Winslow family love, respect, and trust each other. These people have integrity. They are complete human beings with fears and doubts. They make sacrifices and they do the right thing.
The last half hour of this movie contains so many scenes that are just right...perfectly written and perfectly acted. Dickie visiting the house and telling his father that he has enlisted in the army. Kate informing her father that her ex-fiancé is engaged to another. Desmond proposing to Kate, saying "The facts are these. You don't love me and never can. I love you and always will. These are facts I am willing to accept." Kate and Mr. Winslow learning of the outcome of the case from Violet, their faces reflecting the pain and fear of possibly losing the case, then the joy of hearing that they've won. (No, they're not jumping for joy, but the joy and relief is on their faces, nevertheless.) Sir Robert reading the Admiralty's final words absolving Ronnie, then collapsing in the chair from exhaustion. Kate apologizing for having misjudged him. And of course, the final scene between Kate and Sir Robert. RN: Miss Winslow, I hope I shall see you again. One day, perhaps, in the House of Commons, up in the gallery. KW: Yes, Sir Robert, in the House of Commons one day, but not up in the gallery. Across the floor, one day. RN: You still pursue your feminist activities? KW: Oh, yes. RN: Pity. It's a lost cause. KW: Oh, do you really think so, Sir Robert? How little you know about women. Good-bye. I doubt that we shall meet again. RN: Oh, do you really think so, Miss Winslow? How little you know about men.
What a great ending to a great film.
Based on a true story, Terence Ratigan's play is about an elderly
father's defense of his teenager son who has been accused of theft at
the Royal Naval Academy. In David Mamet's subversive hands, the story
is subtly transformed into a battle of the sexes and sexual attraction.
It's absolutely delicious.
This is 1910 England, involving a retired banker, the Royal Naval Academy, a suffragette daughter with a couple of suitors, and a famous barrister hired to defend the son.
While watching the DVD, I think I replayed the last two minutes of the film a half dozen times. Now there was some chemistry happening between Jeremy Northam and Rebecca Pigeon along with great dialogue. That scene alone is worth the price of admission.
Everyone turns in first rate performances, Mamet slyly puts his stamp on this gem of a film. Loved, loved, loved it.
Pigeon and Jones are the emotional hub of this cinematic wheel. The female actors triumph in this English period piece. Mr. Mamet and Mr. Rattigan did an excellent job in their adaptation of the stage play. I enjoyed the story. It was very 'English' in that its passion was both exposed and repressed as the authors saw fit. A volcano rumbling, simmering, until the climax. Jeremy Northam is an exquisite actor. He has shown time and time again that he can handle himself in front of a camera. Ms. Pigeon is by far the best female actor of her age group. For all those out there that think that she gets work because she's married to Mamet should see her in Heist, The Spanish Prisoner and Homicide. the rest of the cast did admirable jobs. I recommend this movie.
Excellent writing, interesting direction, and great acting on all counts. The script is wonderful, and I was most impressed by the undercurrent romance woven throughout the story but never referred to by any of the characters. I highly recommend this film!
A very worthy effort by David Mamet, who translates Terence Rattigan's play to the big-screen with panache. The early 20th century England was a very different one to the one we are now used to. This is before women have the vote and the time leading up to the First World War. Nigel Hawthorne as patriarch of the Winslow family is in sparkling form, and is ably assisted by an excellent ensemble cast. Particular attention must be given to Jeremy Northam's Sir Robert Morton who works tirelessly to persue the case of the wronged Ronnie Winslow (nicely played by Guy Edwards). He does have ulterior motives of course, even if they go unrequited. Nicely paced The Winslow Boy concentrates more on the effect the case has on the family members rather than on a court-room based drama. This is a good choice as it offers an insight into early 20th century middle-class England. A blockbuster it may not be; but it is nevertheless refreshing that period drama of this calibre can still be made. Well done everyone connected with the film.
Despite its pre-World War I English setting, this is a typical David Mamet
film: there is more, far more to the tale than Mamet overtly explains. Did
the Winslow boy steal a money order, or did he not? (This question is not
really answered. Think about it.) Did the boy's champion, the brilliant
barrister Sir Robert Morton, agree to represent the boy because he actually
believed in the boy's innocence? Or did Sir Robert take the case because he
thought doing so would advance his career? Why did the boy's father go on
with the case, despite its devastating effect on his health and finances,
his family and reputation? Did he genuinely continue to believe in his
son's innocence -- or was he just too stubborn to quit. The father's
portrayal, by Sir Nigel Hawthorne, is the high point of a picture with many
Nobody plays Mamet's work better than Mamet's wife, Rebecca Pidgeon. Here, she portrays the Winslow boy's liberal-activist sister, Catherine, a young woman too serious by half and -- perhaps -- too loyal to her family in the same measure.
This is a fine film. 9 of 10.
It takes a director like Mamet to make a story this mundane this engrossing. As a Merchant-Ivory period piece, it would have been a real yawner, but with Mamet writing and directing, I was totally caught up in the story. Good, if subdued (veddy British, you know), performances from the all the cast.
What an excellent movie! Seldom do you see a picture that can be rated "G" yet is still sensual and clever. Every character exudes intelligence and seems worth listening to. There is something about the English......For me, a **** flick!
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