movie night – Goodnight, Mister Tom

I’ve seen some good movies lately, and I’ve run into a problem. I simply can’t remember them. I think it’s my brain getting smaller. Although I have another theory: My head is so full of English grammar that there’s no room for anything else – all that grammar is taking up most of my hard drive; I have no space for movies and books – they just take up too much space. So I compensate by taking notes, on the theory that if I write it down, I don’t have to remember it, freeing up space for more grammar.

And so, movie notes from tonight…

I struck it rich at the mailbox today – two movies in from Netflix. It was well past midnight before I could get to thinking about watching a movie and after 12:30 before I could actually get it into gear, so, bowing to time constraints, I picked the shorter of the two, Goodnight, Mister Tom.

What a delightful movie. It’s from Masterpiece Theater; it looks like it was released on television in 1998. John Thaw, who I recognized but couldn’t place (turns out he’s Inspector Morse, which explains it), is the man in the title, and what a great job he does playing the gruff grandfather out living on his own in the country. Imagine Grandfather in Heidi and you’ve got your man. But instead of Heidi come knocking on his door, it is William, an evacuee from the blitz in London.

It’s a bit schmaltzy, but the story is a good one – how the two deal with their demons, Tom’s those of the past, while William’s are very much those of the present, an evacuee not only of the blitz but of an abusive mother. I’m a sucker for movies that are set in history. With the added bonus that a snapshot of history from one person’s point of view is probably all the time I have for most things these days. It’s a lot faster than the book, that’s for sure. But I bet the book is even better; books always are better than the movie, although don’t go by me on this one. Dollars to donuts I never read the book.

But that’s the beauty of movies – instead of weeks of nights reading the book, I can watch the movie in less than one night and still have time to do the dishes. Mister Tom is a hero in my books, and an excellent character for Thaw. Other than the scenery, set in the fictional town of Weirwold, right out of a Constable painting, Thaw is the mainstay of the movie, because, admit it, the movie is formulaic, but what else to expect from Masterpiece Theater. I’m a sucker for British period pieces. And if I were a hankie person, it would have given me a good cry.

Most of the movies I watch are from Netflix, and they have a rating system over there that is meant to help me, the movie consumer, rate my preferences, the better to service my needs with the product I most want, or at least think I want. Thing is, their numbering system (1 through 5, with 3 being good and 5 being excellent) doesn’t have any gray room for those more good than good but less good than very good movies, like this one. I give Goodnight, Mister Tom a 3.4 and would recommend it to anyone who likes a dollop of British every once in awhile.

shannon’s best guess: 3.4

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