John Thaw and Nick Robinson in Goodnight, Mister Tom (1998)

A Good Day with Mister Tom

It was whilst in the navy during WWI that Tom Oakley (John Thaw) lost his wife and young son and he has never gotten over it, becoming a crotchety hermit in the small village where he lives. But with the commencement of WWII Tom finds himself having to take in William (Nick Robinson), one of the children who arrive having been evacuated from the city. Slowly Tom discovers plenty about young William from the horrible treatment he suffered at the hands of his mother to the fact that whilst artistic he can't read or write. But slowly Tom grows to love William as if he was his own and so is reluctant when his mother wants him to pay her a visit in the city.

There are many things which are beautiful in this world but for me one of the most beautiful is when damaged individuals come together and end up helping to heal each other. It is why "Goodnight, Mister Tom" is so loved by many as this simple story of a crotchety hermit and a young evacuee who has had a torrid home life delivers on that growing friendship between the two as they grow as people. It is why despite there being many other movies which cover similar storylines this one still works.

Okay so there are other reasons why "Goodnight, Mister Tom" one of which is the recreation of a bygone era, a much simpler time and do you know what despite this being set during WWII it creates a slice of life I am sure many would yearn for today. The whole gentler, more relaxed attitude where people are happy with their lot. And then there is John Thaw who is brilliant as Tom Oakley, slightly comical in his crotchiness but with that wonderful kind spirit lurking beneath. Yes there are many enjoyable performances throughout the move but it is John Thaw who makes this movie.

What this all boils down to is that "Goodnight, Mister Tom" is what I call a slice of British family entertainment, the wholesome sort of drama which makes you smile but touches your heart at the same time. It is in truth a case that everything in this clicks but especially John Thaw who makes the character his own.