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8/10
What an enjoyable experience! A satisfying film indeed -- down to the very last word spoken.
Ruby Liang (ruby_fff)12 June 1999
A MUST SEE for Mamet fans and anyone who appreciates performances by Nigel Hawthorne, Jeremy Northam and Rebecca Pidgeon -- a pinnacle tour de force! It's costume drama, if you fancy PBS Masterpiece Theater productions, you'll definitely enjoy it.

Simply Perfect. It's perfection to a "tea" (high tea at four). It's so comfortable and relaxing to watch a Mamet film even when it's a story of intrigue and suspense.

Without stress of anticipation or worrying how the film might turn out, I entered the theater already satisfied -- I am seeing a Mamet film (a relieve from the Hollywood blockbusters!) I totally trusted the writer/director, serenely sat there knowing I will have a pleasant film experience, and immensely enjoyable it truly was!

Every character is well acted by a perfect cast! Nigel Hawthorne as the senior Winslow, Arthur, head of the family. Gemma Jones as the matron of the house, Mrs. Winslow, Grace. Rebecca Pidgeon (Catherine "Kate" Winslow the daughter who works for her cause in women suffrage) flawlessly matches Jeremy Northam (Sir Robert Morton the renowned lawyer who has his influence on the House of Commons). What a fine pair opposite each other. Northam is impeccable and as handsome as he is. Pidgeon is no less brilliant and shines reflectively. There are the other two sons in the Winslow family: the key role of the Winslow boy in question, Ronnie, played by Guy Edwards, and the older son Dickie played by Rebecca's brother Matthew Pidgeon. Also Sarah Flind as the twenty-four years faithful family servant Violet, Colin Stinton as cousin Desmond and Aden Gillett as fiancé John (the two men who keenly pursue Kate) just about do the job for this faultlessly put together story on film.

Mamet's screenplay once again superbly presented. Every line, every word in every scene came across so befitting for the moment -- such timing and delivery. This is a politically conscious film: subjects include family unit value, honor and honesty, class structure, influence of a well-known lawyer, along with father and son relationship, father and daughter, husband and wife, and romantic notions being tossed about around Kate -- all integrally paced yet seemingly choreographed together so effortlessly.

Mind you the case is not the only central interest, the tension (and subtle tender friendship) between Kate Winslow and Sir Robert Morton is fascinating to watch, as they grow to observe each other closely and exchange banters. Kate, with her seemingly restrained manners, is holding back her feelings, while Sir Robert is opening up steadily and showing (obvious to us viewers) interest in getting to talk to Kate more often than he would a man of his stature.

For me, there are four key scenes of exceptional energy, be it in high or low-key delivery. 1) Arthur Winslow (Nigel Hawthorne) talking initially with Ronnie (Guy Edwards). 2) When Kate (Rebecca Pidgeon) first entered Sir Robert's office, our very first glimpse of Sir Robert (Jeremy Northam) and his initial reaction. 3) Sir Robert interrogating Ronnie in his office. 4) The last verbal exchange between Pidgeon and Northam, as Kate and Sir Robert bid goodbye -- miss not a single word of this as you will be satisfied (probably more music to a woman's ears when Northam speaks!)

Music score by Alaric Jans complements the film effectively, so do the costume design by Consolata Boyle and photography by Benoit Delhomme. All in all, I repeat, a perfectly satisfying and enjoyable film. Bravo to Mamet, once again.

Other gems (screenplay-director) by Mamet besides "The Spanish Prisoner" 1998, are his first film "House of Games" 1987 and "Things Change" 1988. They both have the unique energy of Joe Mantegna, and fascinating strong lead performances from Lindsay Crouse in the former and Don Ameche in the latter -- perfect casting they were, with music score both by Alaric Jans. If you appreciate well written dialog and plot, miss these not.
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8/10
Odd but Lovely
Pickwick1220 November 2003
In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit right off that I have never read the Terence Rattigan play from which this film is derived. Therefore, my evaluation of it purely concerns the film itself. I saw the movie during its brief stint in American theaters, and I was very surprised. It is the sort of film that I was amazed made it into Anerican movie theaters at all. It is neither fast-moving nor action-packed, and it contains no sexual content or violence. It centers around a functional British family and has very little romance. It does, however, address many issues and has a great deal of sophisticated humor.

Rebecca Pidgeon's performance was particularly memorable. She had the perfect combination of restraint and sarcasm. I have heard complaints about her-that she was too stiff and lackluster, but I found her character very believable. Perhaps this is because I come from a close, sarcastic family myself. The Winslows came off as very attached to each other, but their Britishness prevented them from being mushy.

I would definitely not recommend this movie to everyone. It is a very specific type of film and probably would be enjoyed by someone who is a fan of slow-paced, dialogue-driven period pieces or by someone who is a bibliophile. It is an unusual film, but I personally think it is pure gold.
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A matter of honour
Philby-32 December 2001
Terence Rattigan's classic English play from the 1940s but set just before WW1 has been filmed at least five times. This 1999 version is by the American director David Mamet, with his wife Rebecca Pidgeon in a lead role as the Boy's sister Catherine, along with Nigel Hawthorne and Gemma Jones as the parents. The acting honours however truly belong to Jeremy Northam as their barrister, Sir Robert Morton, who finds himself strangely attracted to young Ms Winslow. He is the full QC-MP, urbane, smooth as silk (dammit he is a silk) and deeply cynical, scambling up the greasy pole at Westminster, using his legal skills as best he may. Yet he compromises his career by taking the case. It involves the absurdly trivial matter of the alleged theft of a five shilling postal order but by the time it's over Sir Robert and his clients have managed to put the Navy and half the government on trial. Northam make this almost unbelievable transformation seem not just likely but inevitable.

`The Winslow Boy' is of course based on a real case, the Archer-Shee affair, though Rattigan modified the story substantially. In particular the Archer-Shee's counsel, Edward Carson, the prosecutor of Oscar Wilde and raving anti-Irish home ruler, never became personally involved with the family. He was made a law lord (top British judge) shortly after so his quite spectacular career was not affected by his involvement in the Archer-Shee case. Yet the most interesting thing in the film is the entirely ficticious relationship between Sir Robert, the conventional male supremacist and Catherine, the dedicated suffragette. In the end sex triumphs over politics, as it so often does. A pity it did not do so in the case of Lord Carson.

The Boy himself has a wonderful line in English Public School patter (I'm sure an American audience would need sub-titles). Sadly the real Boy was killed in WW1, which also killed the society to whom the Archer-Shee case was so important.
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10/10
Exceptionally lovely story, of the highest caliber
Amy Adler3 March 2005
During the Edwardian period in England, a family is newly in turmoil. The youngest and very dear son has been accused of theft at his school and expelled. The boy swears his innocence to his father & family so the patriarch begins a court proceeding to clear his son of any wrong doing. A rising young attorney (Jeremy Northam) is found willing to accept the defense of the boy. The publicity is intense, making the older sister's wedding engagement in jeopardy. Will the family continue to try and prove their son's case or will circumstances make them give up the fight?

This is a beautiful movie, in many ways. The cast is stellar, but, especially, the handsome and intelligent Jeremy Northam excels in his role as the attorney. The sister's role is also portrayed very well and her feisty yet genteel character is extremely attractive. The sets are lovely, the minor characters deft, and the costumes are superb. Mostly, though, the script and direction are of the highest caliber, showcasing what is good and noble in a family with exceptionally high morals. Do you want good character building films without any objectionable scenes, which are also highly enjoyable? This one should make the top ten list every time.
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9/10
Another great English period piece
T-106 September 1999
It seems the English are invading.....our cinemas. Last year it was Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth and this year it is An Ideal Husband and The Winslow Boy. I also liked Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels but that's another story. Why our fascination with the English? I have some theories but I guess I shouldn't get into that here. The Winslow Boy is a terrific film because of its simplicity. A father defending his son's and thereby his own honor. There are no gimmicks, violence, and stunts, and everything and everyone is what and who they appear to be. As a result this film is driven by strong characters and strong, terse dialogue. I also enjoyed the use of newspaper clippings and caricatures from the editorial page to guide us thru the movie. The use of a scripture which appears a couple times dealing with feast and famine was a great metaphor for the father and the family's prospects. The performances were spectacular, especially Jeremy Northam playing Sir Robert Morton....what a "stage" presence. Rebecca Pidgeon as Kate as the strong willed suffragette daughter in the family was good as well. I must also mention Nigel Hawthorne, the father on whom the struggle took its toll, performed strongly as usual. I would recommend this to all members of the family from the very young for whom it could teach value lessons to the very old for whom it may awaken some feelings of nostalgia for at times it feels like a film from the 40's. Oh by the way the final lines in the film are super. Make sure you are listening. Three and half stars!!!
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7/10
Well acted adaptation of a famous play.
senortuffy29 November 2003
Sometimes the best films you see are the ones you've never heard about. I saw this one sitting on the shelf of my local video store and rented it on a lark.

This is an adaptation of a play written by the late Terence Rattigan ("The Browning Version," "Separate Tables"). Here it is brought to the screen by another famous playwright, David Mamet, who wrote the screenplay and directed this film. It concerns the true story of a young boy who was expelled from the British Naval Academy early in the twentieth century for allegedly stealing a postal order.

This movie is very much a play put onto film. The sets are almost exclusively interior and the action is carried forward through dialogue. Events not at hand are explained through theatrical devices such as reading a letter or someone remarking on what's happened. At times I wished the director had made it more of a movie but it's still a very good film, mainly because the key actors are so good.

Mamet's wife, Rebecca Pidgeon, plays Catherine Winslow, the little boy's older sister. She's an outspoken but gentle woman who's strongly in favor of women's rights. Jeremy Northam plays Sir Robert Morton, the lawyer and member of the House of Commons who takes the Winslow case. He's outwardly reserved but inside he's as passionate about justice as Catherine. Both of these actors give outstanding performances. And as you might expect, there's a little romance suggested between the two by the end of the film.

I wish I knew more about the Winslow case because the film assumes you know most of the facts already. It must have been an important event in early twentieth century British history because they've made several films about it, including one made in 1948 with Robert Donat (Sir Robert Morton), Margaret Leighton (Catherine), and Cedric Hardwicke (the boy's father) that I'll have to see. There must be nuances about the relationship between the government and the common man in this case that are only hinted at here.

Very good entertainment and the acting will knock you off your feet.
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10/10
The Perfect Film with a Perfect 10!
kittens15 January 2001
This film touched me in a way that prompted me to state my affections for this film.

I love this film. The plot, character development, dialogue, direction, acting, wardrobe and every detail associated with the film mirrors perfection. Rebecca Pidgeon is a very talented actress and one can see the resemblance between Catherine and Elizabeth in Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice (Yes, Rebecca Pidgeon would be the perfect Elizabeth Bennet). Jeremy Northam is devilishly handsome (my, oh my) as the reclusive Sir Robert Morton. After seeing this film and reviewing Catherine's and Sir Robert's dialogue at the end of the film numerous times, one can only hope that their path will cross again.

During the era of violence and sex in films, it is refreshing and comforting to see a rated "General" film that can be viewed with one's whole family.

After all, this is a period piece full of love, honour, justice and a families desire to right.
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The marvelous Mamet...
lo-920 June 1999
Just saw The Winslow Boy, and it was a real gem of a movie. Mamet has always been the king of brilliantly droll dialogue, the sort of dialogue that is funny not in its words but its performance, and Winslow Boy is no exception. With unusually clean language, Mamet has written a screenplay that illicits honesty from its players without ever being forced or awkward. It's gorgeous.

The cast lent itself beautifully to the script's Mametian style. Most poignant was Nigel Hawthorn, who managed to break my heart with the shift of an eye. It was the kind of razor-sharp subtlety that Mamet's writing (plays and screenplays) requires, and Hawthorn delivered it with soft spoken brilliance.
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10/10
This is the rare film that could not be improved upon!
moviegoer25 April 2000
A series of absolutely perfect scenes...crisp, engaging dialogue...ordinary yet intriguing characters interwoven into a seamless web...flawless acting, even down to the boy...great costumes...the best ending lines I've heard in years! I've seen this movie twice and found it just as enchanting the second time. I would not change one thing about this movie!
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8/10
Very English, very Mamet, very good
andybenbow27 August 2000
In movies I really like, the quality they all possess is believable characters; they make me care about what happens to them. I think this movie clears that hurdle. Mamet's signature direction and dialogue are brought to life by a wonderful ensemble of actors. The plot is an interesting vehicle showing how an English family reacted when something bad happened to them and gives insight into a period when things were changing in English society. Changes that would lead to be tectonic shifts in British life like women's suffrage and a questioning of the government's infallibility.

I gave it an 8
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The return of Donat and other observations about The Winslow Boy.
phansiet21 July 2000
First I'd like to thank David Mamet for recognizing the remarkable similarity between Jeremy Northam and the late great Robert Donat and then putting it to impeccable use in The Winslow Boy. Donat has been missing for far too long from the cable stations and video rental lists. I'm getting a campaign started to force Amc and TMC to bring back all the old Donat films such as the original version of The Winslow Boy, Count of Monte Cristo, etc. First I'd like to state that by comparing Mr. Northams' performance to Mr. Donats' that I'm in no way diminishing it. On the contrary I find that his ability to evoke the memory of Donat lies in an amazing talent and an astounding technique. His first appearance in The Winslow Boy more than satisfied my glee at the casting of him in this role. When he first steps into the view of the camera, glimpses Catherine and then holds his legal files against him as if to shield his nakedness,( he is of course only naked in the sense that he is not entirely appropriately dressed without his tailcoat)my heart leapt at the thought that I was in for a deja vu movie experience. Excellant direction by Mr. Mamet.I was further pleased throughout the film to realize that although he was pulling out all the wonderful Donatisms, I never once for a moment doubted his sincerity in the role. He was Sir Robert and he was at that moment truely smitten. Mr. Northams' ability to let you see his characters thoughts is so finally tuned he hardly needs his own remarkable gift with dialogue. Other fabulous Donat moments from the film: His court room orations, "No sir' I will not stand down", very reminiscent of Young Mr. Pitt and his stuttering admonition not to "endow an unimportant incident with a romantic significance."Richard Hannay and Mr. Chips are alive and well. And don't get me started on the sexuality of the cigarette smoking.Also check out on the video his uncanny ability to match his shots in cuts on action.

Well thats enough about Mr Northams riveting multi-leveled performance. Mr Mamets restrained, precise, intelligent direction, breathed such vital life in to this 53 yr. old stage play that I'm eager to see what else he has planned. And how many other actors are lining up to work with him. This is a director who knows what he wants. Most of you have already pointed so many of this films tremendous merits I won't be redundant by repeating them. That is after all Mr. Mamets gig. But to the others of you who claimed to of missed the point or couldn't see the tension, drama or eroticism than all I have to say to you is,stuffy, wordy, Edwardian drawing room drama, my aunt Fannie. How little you know about movie viewing.
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9/10
"Quid est veritas"
ianlouisiana15 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The English legal system does not concern itself with such fine conceits as guilt or innocence,concentrating instead on the minutiae of interpretation,precedent,case-law,acceptability of evidence,and,most of all,the eloquence of the barristers.They are,after all,lawyers arguing points of law devised by other lawyers in front of another lawyer whose opinion may well be contested by another group of lawyers at a later stage.So it is in "The Winslow Boy",a relic of the pre "kitchen sink" era of the British Theatre,one of the last hurrahs of the complacent middle-aged men before the angry young men had their brief revolution. Their breath of fresh air soon became a gale of fetid air and the complacent middle-aged men soon had their slippers back in the hearth -some of the former A.Y.M.joining the ranks of the reactionaries. Mr Terence Rattigan's story of the boy accused of theft and his family's extraordinary campaign to prove his innocence is open to the same questions of interpretation.Ronnie Winslow's guilt is never considered by anyone except his prospective counsel,and,in a rather melodramatic scene,he too appears to be convinced that a miscarriage of justice has taken place.Or does he just take on the case to get closer to the boy's sister?Is it the film's premise that no price is too high to pay nor is any cause more noble than establishing the truth - or is it that truth becomes irrelevant in the battle between two opposing lawyers or in the escalating juggernaut of publicity? Set in the uneasy peace preceding the first world war,"The Winslow Boy" examines that most excoriated of institutions,the middle class family. Gruff but loving paterfamilias,supportive wife/mother,strong-willed independent-minded daughter,charming,polite but slightly rakish older son and the eponymous younger son.The dynamics of such a group of people are skilfully portrayed in a number of short well-written scenes that establish their relationships.Mr Nigel Hawthorne and Miss Gemma Jones are outstanding as the parents,she having the more difficult task of seeming slightly subservient and at the same time the real strength of the family and the one holding it together.Mr Hawthorne starts off the epitome of male rationality and at the end of the film has become obsessed by his campaign perhaps even to the edge of madness,whilst Miss Jones despite her emotional involvement with her younger son becomes more pragmatic as the campaign goes on.Driven to virtual bankruptcy by the costs(echoes of "Bleak House" here)the Winslows are driven closer together by the experience. Miss Rebecca Pigeon plays Kate,the rebellious "New Woman",cigarette smoking supporter of womens' suffrage.She is completely believable in the role and I can only think that the severe criticism of her is of the "sour grapes" variety.Her brother Matthew plays her brother and it works very well.There is a subtle interplay between them that reflects their real-life relationship and enhances all their scenes together. Kate supports vaguely leftish causes that are anathema to her father and is ambivalent about briefing the eminent barrister Sir Robert Morton,scourge of the Trade Union movement(the devastatingly handsome Mr Jeremy Northam) but he wins her over by declaring his belief in her brother's innocence after a cross-examination in his office. As the family's money is gradually drained away Kate loses her Lifeguards officer fiancé but doesn't seem unduly bothered despite declaring lifelong love for him to her mother"I love him in every possible way a woman can love a man",she told her discomfited parent.

The family solicitor (Mr Colin Stinton) her devoted swain for years is gently rejected and her relationship with Sir Robert Morton slowly develops from confrontation to co-existence with room for development. At the end of the court case the two have a loaded conversation and the final exchange is worthy of Oscar Wilde. Guy Edwards as Ronnie Windsor recalls the kind of boy who once rolled hoops along the banks of the Serpentine under Nanny's careful eye. The change from fierce denial to apparent disinterest in his fate is well-observed.From a slightly sanctimonious prig he turns into a readily recognisable somewhat bemused teenager whose priorities in life have inevitably altered.Only Mr Hawthorne's steely determination remains unbending and he has paid for it not only financially but also with his health.Whether it is a price worth paying is the question at the heart of this film.
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Excellent story but the main drama is sometimes only alluded to and not seen
bob the moo25 August 2002
Arthur Winslow is the head of a respectable London family, however this threatens to change when his young son is expelled from military school for stealing a postal order worth 5 shillings. Winslow risks his wealth and his family to pursue justice for his son. However when the military court of appeal rejects him he has to appeal to the highest court in the land through MP Sir Morton.

A turn of the century English drama may not be the subject you'd expect Mamet to tackle but here he does and he brings his usual skill for writing with him. The characters are very well developed and manage to be very easy to get to know even with the very polite and guarded dialogue. The characters and dialogue need to be good because much of the drama takes place in stilted conversations or off-screen. The plot managed to keep me fascinated throughout due to the strong original story and the good writing. Sadly the film loses something by keeping the main drama off screen (the court cases etc) and this can be quite annoying and slightly sullies the water.

The talented cast has plenty to work with and do very well indeed. Hawthorne revels in this type of role and does the gradual decline very well. Northam, Pidgeon, Jones etc do well – all manage to deliver very Merchant-Ivory style performances without having the cold edge that those films tend to have. This is partly Mamet's writing and direction but also the talents of a good cast.

Overall this is not typical Mamet fare and many of his fans may struggle with the sheer Englishness of it, but those not put off will find that the characters and dialogue are as strong as ever and the story is gripping even if the off-screen action sometimes appears to be more interesting that what we are allowed to see.
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10/10
Understatement, wit, restraint
Luque-25 March 2000
This play, brilliantly transposed to film, comes across very effectively, with its dialogue worthy, in places, of Oscar Wilde. What pleasure for the viewer in the eloquence of things left unsaid! What a splendid example of how the constraints of politeness in no way detract from the frankness of the feelings expressed!
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10/10
A Great G Movie from David Mamet!!
cdexter125 February 2000
This movie was enthralling from start to finish. The acting was so good it almost distracted me from the plot. The plot was so compelling that it made the brilliant dialog almost superfluous. The period atmosphere was perfect, but somehow you never forgot you were watching a David Mamet project. I don't want to give away the plot, but this is one of the few movies I have seen with a wonderful love story and not so much as a kiss! Maybe David Mamet is Jane Austen reincarnated!
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10/10
Outstanding film.
jack.hunter26 February 2001
Outstanding film in every respect. Wonderfully written and delivered dialog. Superb casting and performances. I noticed Rebecca Pidgeon has drawn flak from some reviewers but I thought she was excellent in every way. Since when does being the director's wife automatically disqualify an actress from a film part? I give this movie a 10.
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Layered Artifice
tedg8 October 2000
Warning: Spoilers
Two interesting things about this film. Mamet usually overdelivers. But with his Vanya and this play, both adaptations, he explores subtle layering. What the layering concerns is the second point. But the fashion of the layering in this case is extreme understatement. One can see where Mamet is experimenting to see how far he can go, and that's not too enjoyable, since the mechanics of writing show. He was masterful with Vanya. Here, he tries too hard.

But the point of the play is very fine. Here we have yet another film about acting. The event which gets the wheel turning is a young boy who lies about his guilt. (His guilt is never really in doubt as the overwhelming evidence is presented...

Spoiler ahead! ...and he is acquitted in an OJ-like confabulation of legal tricks. This is why the British public was so upset.)

But never mind that the boy is acting. Or that his father is pretending to believe in the family's honor. Or never mind the other minor Victorian deceits (that the maid pretends to not know of her impending dismissal, the black sheep son pretends to not despise his father, or that the soldier pretends to love his fiance.)

No, this film is about the lawyer/lord. Jeremy Northam is perfect. He never believes in the boy's innocence. He is one artifice laid on top of another. He lies to his friend about a judgeship knowing the confidence will be shared with the woman he is toying with. His entire behavior in chambers and the house is an act. The last scene which is superficially lovely is actually an escalation of the artifice.

Northam pulls this off well. He lets us know at root he is Northam the actor, playing Mamet's lord, who is an elaboration of the original play's character, who in turn represented a very real person. But because that person was a Victorian, he himself was false. As with Vanya, the point of the play is to allow the actor to weave in and out of these layers. Northam is perfect, I say again.

One cannot get so excited about the female foil. When will directors ever learn not to direct the people they sleep with? She smiles well. How vapid in comparison to Northam's locomotive.
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Cool and Crafty
harry-7629 November 2002
Traditional English logic and technical craftsmanship are most abundant in this sixth remake of "The Winslow Boy."

All the stylistic artifices and underplayed emotions of the Brits are played out here, as a fine production company executes its work.

The deft combination of Writer-Director-Actor-Producer David Mamet and Playright Supreme Sir Terrance Rattigan result in a compelling dramatic experience.

Jeremy Northham's work as Sir Robert impressed me as owing no small measure to the thespian legacy of Christopher Plummer, Lawrence Harvey and Sir Dirk Bogard -- all of whom being under the umbrella of Lord Lawrence Olivier.

Too, Nigel Hawthorne's Arthur tips its theatrical hat to Sir Ralph Richardson and John Guilgud. Rebecca Piegeon's Catherine is the picture of emotional composure, allowing us small glimpses of her real self.

The entire context of this situational enactment strikes me as culturally stifling, emotionally repressive, and humanisticly skewed.

However, the purpose of the play is to clearly present the "facts," allowing viewers to draw their own conclusion. With this objective in mind, the company has produced a constantly interesting drama of a decidedly overblown court case.

Alaric Jans' score and orchestration provide a notable complement.
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Deceptive
petra_ste22 November 2015
Warning: Spoilers
On the surface, this legal drama by David Mamet (based on a play by Terence Rattigan) is as straightforward as it gets: in early 20th century Britain, cadet Ronnie Winslow (Guy Edwards) is accused of theft and expelled from the naval academy; his family, led by father Arthur (the great Nigel Hawthorne), starts a legal crusade to prove the boy's innocence, hiring famed lawyer Sir Robert Morton (Jeremy Northam).

Mamet and Rattigan operate a deconstruction of the genre in both structure and themes. Court scenes are almost nonexistent; what we do see are preparations and aftermaths in the Winslow household, and the fallout of the case on the family's welfare.

For every character, there is something more at work than the pursuit of truth. Is Arthur Winslow motivated by paternal devotion and sense of justice or merely by pride? Does Sir Robert care about the case, or he just fancies Ronnie's spirited sister Catherine (Rebecca Pidgeon)? Catherine herself, the idealist, at one point appears ready to drop everything to save her imminent marriage with a conservative officer; the mother (Gemma Jones) worries about their waning wealth; the other son (Matthew Pidgeon), forced to abandon his studies, becomes eager to join the impending conflict and will probably end up on the trenches of WWI a few years later.

Even sneakier, is Ronnie truly innocent? The movie seemingly implies he is, but leaves a trail of breadcrumbs leading in the opposite direction as well. There is no explicit "Har har I did it!" twist - but, at the very least, it leaves you wondering. But maybe Ronnie's innocence is truly besides the point, as illustrated by his casual reaction to the final verdict - the family goes through a legal crusade, putting everything at stake, and the central figure of the whole case is just a boy oblivious to all the brouhaha.

Hawthorne and Northam are great; the movie is worth multiple viewings.

7/10
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9/10
lucy-6627 August 2002
What a brilliant film, just seen it on TV. Trailer in the UK press called it "emotion among the upper classes". Odd, because it's about a not-very-rich MIDDLE

class family's fight against the UPPER class establishment. "Let right be done" - their case about the theft of a few shillings ends up exposing the unfairness of military tribunals and possibly changes the process. Their lack of money to

carry on the fight is essential to the story. Catherine loses her dowry (and

fiancee). Her brother has to quit university for a dull job. Also, though their upper lips remain stiff, their warm affection and loyalty as a family is obvious. Acting and directing are great. And that last line, oh wow! xxx
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9/10
best end scene dialogue ever !
rvannoten3 August 2002
Intelligent, skillful and delightful "British" film based on Rattigan's play. Mamet's adaptation is excellent and all actors are up to the job. How heavenly sobriety glitters! But most of all, and that is why I comment in this column for the very first time, the dialogues of the end scene made an everlasting impression. Very witty, David Mamet!!! And very subtle play by Northam and Rebecca Pidgeon, who are very meritorious throughout the film, adding to the greatness of an as brilliant as ever Sir Nigel Hawthorne. Please give us more of this David Mamet!
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8/10
The Epitome of An English Film
drew-12127 July 2002
Having watched this film three times, I must say that it is quite emphatically one of the best movies of the 1990's.

Mamet knows how to rework a script and how to direct. He certainly drew great performances from his wife and the late great Sir Nigel Hawthorne.

My greatest praise too for the cinematography. Simple and effective.

Recommended viewing for those who like a good story and classy films.
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"Very English" may or may not be a compliment, but . . .
gmr-413 October 2001
this was a right good movie. It was so good that it perhaps played three weeks in Detroit and not at all in Grand Rapids. Until going into this web site I was unaware of the earlier treatments of this excellent story, a commentary on my knowledge of motion pictures.

I recommended it to the QUITE right-wing "Focus on the Family" outfit which has a media watch. For a "pro-family" organisation they were astroundingly unaware of this gem. Everything is there, fine performances aside: An official wrong, dilemma about what to do, the decision to fight, the price the middle-class family pays, the internal doubts, and how everyone emerges changed for the better (maybe even the sole loser), except the principal who is essentially unmoved. I saw THE WINSLOW BOY twice, and just this morning over coffee recommended it to neighbours with children in their early 'teens. That a sophisticated yet simple film devoid of profanity and violence can do so poorly is a comment not on big bad "Hollywood," but on American culture.
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9/10
New ground for Mamet...
AtticusFinch31 July 2001
David Mamet is without question one of cinema's most articulate word-smiths. Those who love his patter will find "The Winslow Boy" an interesting departure for him. Instead of masterfully laying down the jargon of con-men ("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.
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9/10
A movie that makes you think
aromatic-218 July 1999
It is rare that a remake is in the league of the original, and while I still identify most with Margaret Leighton's brilliant performance in the 1948 original, Rebecca Pidgeon was excellent as well. This one left out a few of the extra elements (such as the burlesque hall) of the original; nevertheless, this version has magic of its own -- well worth seeing. But the original is also available on rental; If you liked the new one, rent the original and compare!
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