The Winslow Boy (1999) Nigel Hawthorne, Rebecca Pidgeon, Jeremy Northam, Gemma Jones Movie Review

The Winslow Boy (1999)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Nigel Hawthorne in The Winslow Boy (1999)

The Boy and the Crown

Arthur Winslow (Nigel Hawthorne) and the rest of the Winslow family are just about to celebrate the engagement of their daughter Catherine (Rebecca Pidgeon) to Captain John Watherstone (Aden Gillett) when his young son Ronnie (Guy Edwards) returns home having been expelled from the Royal Naval College accused of the theft of a postal order. After asking Ronnie whether he stole the money Arthur decides to take matters further through the courts to seek justice and to clear his son's name. It leads to Arthur and Ronnie's story becoming big news as Arthur takes things all the way to Sir Robert Morton (Jeremy Northam), a Member of Parliament and the countries top lawyer, who agrees to take the case and sue the Crown. As Sir Robert champions the case it leads to him and the engaged Catherine who initially dislikes Morton due to his opposition to women's suffrage becoming close whilst the cost threatens to bankrupt the family and destroy Arthur.

They say two wrongs don't make a right and when it comes to movies a lot of ticks don't mean success. And that is the trouble when it comes to "The Winslow Boy" because this movie ticks so many boxes from the looks to the dialogue yet the sum of all the parts, the outcome of all these ticks is just an okay movie. And in a way that is both frustrating and disappointing because some of those parts are truly a joy and you feel slightly deflated by "The Winslow Boy" ending up not the great movie you sense it could have been.

Rebecca Pidgeon in The Winslow Boy (1999)

Now at the heart of this is an entertaining storyline which features the drama that this case brings from the media attention on the family to the spiralling costs which causes tension in the Winslow house and the possibility of bankruptcy. But at the same time we have the romance and a semi traditional one at that as we have Catherine showing animosity towards Sir Robert whilst he playfully charms her as she interests him and so we have this flirtation going on between them. And it is an entertaining storyline but due to the nature of the play from which this heralds there are elements which are missing which you would expect from a movie which clearly has a legal side to it.

And then there is the acting with Nigel Hawthorne in outstanding form as Arthur Winslow not only delivering the elegant nature of the dialogue but the emotion of a man facing huge decisions when it comes to his home and his family. It is not just Hawthorne's performance which is captivating as Rebecca Pidgeon and Jeremy Northam work well together, bringing that toying flirtatious side to their characters alive. But at times everyone feels like they are caught in the costume drama trap of acting the part than being in the moment which drags it down.

What this all boils down to is that "The Winslow Boy" is in parts a very good movie but the sum of those parts don't come together to make that great movie you feel is hiding in it and instead it only ends up an average movie.