Writer and director David Mamet's sixth film is a thought-provoking and ethically charged tour de force based on Terence Rattigan's 1946 play. It focuses on the true story of a middle-class English family who in 1910 take on the Crown and the Admiralty after their son is falsely accused of cashing in a fellow student's postal order at the Naval College.
Convinced of 14-year-old Ronnie's (Guy Edwards) innocence, the Winslow family puts everything on the line for him. His highly principled father, Arthur (Nigel Hawthorne), is worn down by the long and drawn-out legal battle. His mother, Grace (Gemma Jones), grows anxious over her husband's failing health and the financial burdens of their son's defense. The boy's suffragette sister, Catherine (Rebecca Pidgeon), watches her impending marriage fall apart when her fiance (Aden Gillett) breaks off their engagement due to his family's uneasiness with the Winslow crusade. She is also quite uncomfortable with the fact that the lawyer her father hires, Sir Robert Morton (Jeremy Northam), is a well-known conservative opposed to women's rights.
David Mamet draws out top-drawer performances from the entire cast, making The Winslow Boy one of the best-acted films of 1999. Even better, this riveting drama reveals the courage and the conviction involved in taking a moral stand. William Sloane Coffin once wrote: "The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love." Both themes are carried into our hearts in this extraordinary film.