The Winslow BoyHD Closed Captioning
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David Mamet's brilliant adaptation of the The Winslow Boy is a rich and complex telling of the British classic, brought to life by a superior ensemble of talent. The story follows the lives of the Winslows, a banker's family living in turn-of-the-century London, as they fight to prove the innocence of their youngest son accused of theft. After Sir Robert Morton, a respected lawyer, agrees to represent the boy, the case becomes a national spectacle and threatens to erode the family's bond. But, even as the legal circus engulfs the Winslows' lives, self-discovery and blossoming romance round out this period masterpiece filled with shimmering hope, wit and humanity.
The Wonderful Winslow Boy
This is, simply, a spectacularly good movie. Wonderful script by Terence Rattigan with incidental dialogue by David Mamet; phenominal, reserved performances by all the actors; wonderful depiction of Edwardian manners and mores; skilled camera work and cinematography (watch how Mamet sets up and juggles multiple stages as actors move between rooms in the house). Ask yourself at the end of the movie what you thought of the courtroom scenes and you will realize that you have just watched a movie about a major legal case in which not one moment of the trial was ever shown. Mamet is a talky playwright; although he didn't write most of the dialogue, he filmed conversations that seem real. Watch the scene in Sir Morton's office with the whole family gathered to see if he will take the case. He asks everyone to be seated, and instead of immediately focusing on the cross examination of the accused boy, there is a momentary snatch of dialogue between the boy's sister and mother -- of no moment in advancing the story, but it makes the family seem real and the scene live. Another wonderful aspect of the movie is the depiction of Edwardian English reserve -- the opposite of the moral vanity that is so much in evidence in these more "advanced" times. And so much is packed into this movie -- the fight of the small against the powerful; the advancement of women's rights; the struggle of a family to seek justice without being blind to other values; unrequited love. And the movie is filled with lovely moments -- the scene in which the accused boy is cross examined by Sir Morton is like ballet; the scene in which Sir Morton reveals to the accused boy's (adult) sister the secret behind one of the puzzling inconsistencies in his story of innocence; the scene in which the sister's suitor professes his love and his acceptance that it is not returned in kind; the scene in the House of Lords (I think it is) in which the old man who rises to state that the Crown cannot be sued is the actor who played the accused boy in the original film or stage (I cannot remember which) version of the play; I could go on and on. See this movie. Do NOT watch the trailer -- it will spoil one of the loveliest moments in the film.
Why is this film not available to rent? Why is any film on iTunes not available to rent? ... so frustrating!
The Winslow Boy
If you like English period drama, and good acting, then this is a very enjoyable movie. Unusual Mamet, although the romance is unspoken, almost unacknowledged, and subtle so maybe not so much. Jeremy Northam is brilliant, with solid support from all the rest.