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The Winslow Boy
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Winslow Boy More at IMDbPro »

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Index 118 reviews in total 

mountains out of molehills aren't always stupid

Author: Dcoychic from Auckland
2 October 1999

What a beautiful film. Not just visually (although it is stunning), but 'The Winslow Boy's acting, script and wit places it firmly in my top ten list of "Most Beautiful Films Of All Time". It is not an edge of your seat, p******* your pants in antisipation film, but it makes you love the characters, and care about what will happen to them. You'll leave the cinema either a)unsatisfied, because it left you wondering, or b) feeling like you just ate a four course meal at the ritziest resturant in the world and didn't have to pay. Wonderful performances from all the cast, especially Jeremy Northam as lawyer Sir Robert Morton, who plays the part with intelligence, suave and hidden tenderness. Don't underestimate 'The Winslow Boy' because you think it'll be 2 hours of Jane Austen melodrama, and you'll see it as it really is, a wonderful, darling, beautiful and witty film.

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What was he thinking?

Author: Jeanna Noel Culp ( from East Lansing, MI
24 September 1999

Unlike another expressed opinion, I am an avid fan of costume dramas as well as the typical rapid-fire wit of David Mamet. I was dissapointed on both accounts by The Winslow Boy. Not only does the lack of diversion from the script restrict setting and action, but the dialogue was often spouted at such a pace and volume that much was missed. I enjoyed Rebecca Pigeon's performance in The Spanish Prisoner, but her Catherine reminds me of the criticism I have heard of Oleanna - dry and harshly unlikeable. Jeremy Northam pulls as much as he can out of his sorely underdeveloped Sir Morton, as does Nigel Hawthorne Arthur Winslow. In short, Mr. Mamet, perhaps next time it would be wise to create a "film" experience rather than merely placing the play in a fancy set. If I had wanted to see a work by Terrance Rattigan alone, I know where to find the theatre.

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Mamet scores a bullseye

Author: Lolly Lewis from San Francisco
21 September 1999

It's a rare film that can put this much affection up on the screen.

Initial observation of the Winslow family's formal and almost ritualistic behavior with one another might lead us to believe they are each cold, distant, and heartless. But Mamet takes us past such a superficial view of their Edwardian style by showing us the constant, enduring warmth that binds them together.

By leaving all of the plot's action offscreen, he focuses on the human relationships on a much deeper level. We are drawn into the fondness that permeates every interchange between the characters until we feel a part of the family ourselves.

The acting is excellent, and just looking at Nigel Hawthorne's face for most of two hours is a satisfying feast in itself. It also doesn't hurt that this is one of the sexiest and most delightfully understated romances I've ever seen in the movies.

This film is a complete winner.

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Very satisfying film

Author: bart-38 from Toronto
21 September 1999

An excellent Edwardian period piece (ok, I know, it was after Edward, but you know what I mean) and an interesting story. Seems they went a bit far to show that the Winslow Boy was a Cause Celebre, but that's my only quibble. Casting was superb (the maid was perfect) and so was the acting -- Nigel Hawthorne really is a fine actor. I recommend it as a very satisfying film.

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Author: Steve Baker ( from Cairns Australia
13 September 1999

It's a delight to see conflicts resolved with reticence and great to see yet another quality movie on show at Cinema 4!

In the Winslow boy even lust, love and betrothal are determined by polite discussion in a world where the high ground of moral principal sways the day.

A son of a retired bank official in 1910 London is expelled from military college accused of stealing some money. His father, Arthur Winsow, believes the boy's assertion of innocence and takes the Crown to court, threatening to bankrupt the family in the process.

Father, played with wonderful sensitivity by Nigel Hawthorn, hires the nations best lawyer Sir Thomas Morton (Jeremy Northam) to defend the case.

Arthur's daughter Catherine (Rebecca Pidgeon), a suffragette, is considering marriage and has two suitors, the family's long time solicitor Desmond (Colin Stinton) and John Watherstone (Aden Gillett), a colourless career Military man.

A conventional film would have treated The Winslow Boy as a courtroom drama, centered about the trial, with the customary climatic summation and sentence but here the peripheral dramas are the business of the film. Will the family survive this ordeal? Will the maid get the sack? Will true love bloom?

What's to become of the fey older son Ronnie (Guy Edwards) who considers war to be less dangerous than the bloodletting at the bank.

Dad's health is failing and he visibly ages with the stress. Death is lurking and along with the plight of the family, Sir Thomas has his own political skin to consider as he takes on the Military.

All this adds to nothing without strong acting, a solid script and deft direction. David Mamet who wrote the screenplay based on Terrence Rattigan's 1940's play has handled The Winsow boy admirably.

Jeremy Northam bears special mention as well. This fellow exudes suaveness as well as subtlety. Rebecca Pidgeon attracts flack due to her being David Mamet's real world wife when she performs in his films, but she holds her own well in a fine production.

This is a film for those who enjoy dialogue, but that's not to say that it lacks passion. There's a lot to be said for the glance, the tilt of the head and a quiet word of advice when it comes to high emotion.

It is rare these days in films for relationships to be built on intellect and principal rather than lust and action, for people to really care about each other's political beliefs for example, at least unless the movie in question is an English costume drama.

A clever script, good acting and intelligent direction can sometimes however work the magic.

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A heart breaker

Author: Peter Watt from New Zealand
2 September 1999

This is a very beautiful and moving film. It is about courage, truth, love, and passion. The central performance is by Rebecca Pidgeon, a remarkable display of intelligence and integrity. Do not miss it.

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An intelligent and entertaining movie.

Author: Nancy B. ( from Westchester County, NY
19 August 1999

My teenage children and I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, which was subtle and intelligent, both witty and moving, and even had a little suspense. How unusual for a G-rated movie geared toward an adult audience to come out of Hollywood! I shall buy the video as soon as it is available in order to cast another economic vote of 'yes.'

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It is worth seeing twice.

Author: Jerry Conklin from Los Angeles, England
7 August 1999

NO: Violence, Nudity, Sex, Profanity, Car Chase, "Ghosts", PC Theme? No, nothing but a remarkably gripping portrayal of character and integrity in action. Many thanks to Nigel Hawthorne, Jeremy North and Rebecca Pidgeon for providing us with an example of acting at it's best. This is a movie which appears to have little appeal to the mass of movie goers (an odd term) and will likely not even be mentioned in the AcAward Circus.

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Worthy of Reflection

Author: moviegourmet from United States
26 July 1999

In "The Winslow Boy," David Mamet depicts a Christian family caught in a horrific situation. The father is clearly the head of the household, worships God and believes that when truth and honor are attacked, the attack must be met. His is faithful to God's word, his demeanor is humble but resolute, and the diversity of his family must remind audiences of their own relations. It is a joy to watch and reflect on.

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An intelligent courtroom drama without courtroom scenes

Author: vonnie-2 from Ottawa, Canada
20 July 1999

What a wonderful movie this is! I thought the old version with Robert Donat was excellent and couldn't be topped, but I am exceedingly happy to be proven wrong here by, in my opinion, Mamet's best cinematic achievement to date. In THE WINSLOW BOY, Mamet benefits from an impeccable cast, especially the great Nigel Hawthorne (one of the best actors working either on stage or screen presently) and Gemma Jones as Mr. and Mrs. Arthur & Grace Winslow, both of whom give tremendously layered and moving performances.

The story, nominally about honour and "right" prevailing over all adversity, is made into a complex story of moral ambiguity, a territory Mamet knows very well. Jeremy Northam proves himself to be a rising star as the mercurial barrister who Arthur hires to defend his son, whom he believes to have been falsely accused of theft. With a voice inflection or an elevation of an eyebrow, Northam transforms Sir Richard Morton from a cold theologian to an amused cynic to a sexy potential lover. The sly double-entendre between Northam and Rebecca Pidgeon's Catherine Winslow is so deliciously done that I was reminded of the famous "horse race" talk between Bogart and Bacall in BIG SLEEP. I initially had some problem with Rebecca Pidgeon as a dramatic actress, but even she fares well, probably because Catherine Winslow is such an engaging character (sort of reminded me of Elizabeth Bennett in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE).

Interestingly, Mamet eschews putting in dramatic court scenes and instead focuses on the effects of prolonged trial on the Winslow family. A wise move indeed, if the reaction of the audience at the screening is anything to judge by. I haven't seen a movie theater audience bursting spontaneously into applause in a long, long time.

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