About the film
- Released: 1998
- Director: Jack Gold
- Producer: Chris Burt
- Running Time: 1 hr 41 mins
- Genre: War, Family, Drama
The year is 1939 and WW2 has just broken out. As was the case at the time, children from the cities were evacuated to the countryside for their safety. So when a small group of children arrive by train to the village of Weirworld from London, they are assigned families to live with until they can return home. William Beech, or Willie, is placed with Tom Oakley. The reason for this is because his mother requested that he is to be placed with a Christian and close to a Church. Tom lives very close to the Church and attended the Sunday services each week. Tom is none too pleased about this at the beginning and goes back to the lady who placed William with him and tells her he doesn't want the lad and to place him with someone else. But she informs him that he has no choice in the matter. "There is a war on, you know!" She tells him.
But we gradually see how Tom, or Mr Tom as Willie calls him, warms to the young man. Tom has his own battles to deal with as he still grieves over the loss of his beloved wife and son to scarlet fever. So you can understand his reluctance to have a child in his care. Similarly, we see how Willie also comes from a troubled background, though a very different one to Tom's. He comes from an abusive family and his highly religious mother is very domineering and punishes poor Tom for the smallest of things.
When William's mother requests that he returns to London for a few days, naturally, Tom is upset about this. The two have formed a special bond by now, and Tom has helped William with so much, including in reading and writing which he couldn't do before. Tom also discovers that William is a very talented artist and loves drawing, something which his mother discouraged. But he has little choice in the matter but to let the lad go to London. When Tom doesn't receive any letters from William in a few days, he decides to go to London to see what's going on. When he gets to the address, he is informed by a neighbour that William's mother has moved, and she had no idea that Tom was back home. But thanks to Tom's dog, we see that Tom is, indeed, in the flat. His mother isn't though.
What we see is how much Tom has really grown fond of the boy and how much he cares for him, and the feeling is mutual. He has to fight the authorities from every angle to secure William's welfare, and also to get him back into his care.
I love this film. I remember watching it years ago when it was on television, but I came across it on You Tube. So I had to watch it again. John Thaw, more famous for playing Inspector Morse, plays an excellent role as Tom Oakley. When you first start watching the film, he comes across as a cantankerous, miserable old man. Although he attended Church every week, he never really came across as approachable. But William had a profound affect on him, and vise versa. Having lost a child of his own some years earlier, Tom soon finds his paternal instincts in raising young William and doing the best for him. We really see a road to recovery for both of them. William, having come from an abusive background, finds solace, comfort and safety with Mr Tom. And Tom, who learns to overcome his grief and heartache to take care of this young man.
I found one of the most heartwarming scenes was when Tom arranged a birthday party for William and had his friends round. One of the ladies encouraged Tom to play the piano, which he hadn't done since his wife and child passed away some years earlier. I found this part really touching and moving. This is a lovely film. It's a story of love, loss, acceptance and friendship. John Thaw plays an excellent part as Tom Oakley, and him and the young Nick Robinson seem to connect well. Although at the start of the film Tom comes across as a bit of an old misery, we soon begin to see a different side to him, one which you will grow to love.
Goodnight Mister Tom Official Trailer
© 2020 Louise Powles
FlourishAnyway from USA on November 10, 2020:
I’ve never heard of this film but the way you describe it I would love to see it. Thank you for sharing your experience with it.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on November 09, 2020:
Based on your review, I have decided that this is a good movie to watch. Thank you.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 08, 2020:
I've heard of this film but have never seen it. Thank you for sharing this review, Louise. I'd love to watch the film some time.
Lorna Lamon on November 08, 2020:
I watched this movie quite recently and was moved by the storyline. This is an excellent review Louise and a sensitive portrayal of what life would have been like for those children who were evacuated during the war.
Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on November 08, 2020:
I had never heard of this movie. It sounds like one I would want to watch. Thank you.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 08, 2020:
This is an excellent review for this movie. I haven't seen it, but I am going to watch it now. Thanks for the review.
Lora Hollings on November 07, 2020:
You did an excellent job in writing this review, Louise. It sounds like a movie that would be well worth the time watching and a film that the entire family could watch together especially around the holidays. Thanks for sharing.
Ann Carr from SW England on November 07, 2020:
This is a wonderful film of a great story worth reading. John Thaw is perfect for Tom. A gentle and touching story with its share of sadness and horror during the war. Your review is perfect and will get us all watching or reading again.
Liz Westwood from UK on November 07, 2020:
This is a good review. We were just talking about finding this film to watch recently. You have reminded me to search it out.