The Winslow Boy (1999) / Drama-Romance
MPAA Rated: G, suitable for all audiences
Running Time: 104 min.
Cast: Nigel Hawthorne, Jeremy Northam, Rebecca Pidgeon, Gemma Jones
Director: David Mamet
Screenplay: David Mamet (based on the play by Terence Rattigan)
Review published October 16, 1999
Set in early 1900s England, The Winslow Boy follows the Winslow family, who are distress to find that the young 14-year-old Winslow boy has been thrown out of the royal naval academy for stealing a postal order. The boy maintains his innocence, and the family pursues justice in the courts, which taxes the family's well-being health-wise and financially. They enlist a crafty young lawyer who pushes the lawsuit to the point where the entire country is focused on it, and little else.
The Winslow Boy is probably most notable for the departure of style and growth of David Mamet (The Spanish Prisoner, House of Games) as a writer and director. Mamet gives this play by Terrence Rattigan the depth and intelligence it needs to carry itself in what is otherwise an uninvolving and relatively boring tale.
The film does have a cast of quality actors, especially Northam (Mimic, The Net) in an engaging performance, and the costumes and sets frame the mood in turn-of-the-century England quite nicely.
While everything seems to be in place for a quality film, ultimately it's the lack of emotion and mundane goings on that keep The Winslow Boy from making it to the level of memorability. Fans of period dramas will find enough to enjoy here, but most others may find themselves trying not to maintain consciousness for the duration.
©1999 Vince Leo