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Goodnight Mister Tom [DVD] 
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John Thaw stars as Tom Oakley in the award-winning family drama Goodnight Mister Tom. The DVD is based on the novel by Michelle Magorian and explores the life-long bond which develops between its two lead characters--an illiterate 10 year-old orphan from London (Willie), and a grumpy, cynical old widow who lives alone in the English countryside (Tom). After Willie is forced to seek refuge at Toms house in anticipation of the WWII German bombings of London, the story follows the trials and tribulations of the enduring relationship which eventually forms between them. The 101-minute DVD is in DVD 5 format and also features biographies.
Set in a small English town at the start of WWII, Goodnight Mister Tom is based on Michelle Magorian's novel about a cantankerous WWI veteran named Tom Oakley (John Thaw), who, against his will, is paired with a London orphan named Willie Beech. The story is based around the relationship which develops between Tom and Willie, who is sent to him after the children of London were evacuated in preparation for the expected German bombings. After initially receiving a cold and hostile reception from Tom, Willie--an illiterate, shy child who has endured a horrific childhood--soon brings out his caring paternal side, which had sadly disappeared many years earlier. The enduring bond and friendship that the two characters share will change both of their lives forever.
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I was thinking of showing this to my grand-daughter aged five, but several scenes might be a problem or too harrowing. Will leave it a few years.
In fact, we eventually got it going with subtitles on as was worried it might revert to audio description if we tried to remove the subtitles!
Played fine though. It is a good film though not nearly as good as the book. Really disappointed zach doesn't say 'whizzo' once in the film!
Many scenes missed from the film. The relationship between mr tom and willie is preserved but the relationship between zach and willie suffers from the scene cutting. Still a worthwhile watch
It's not often that a book moves me to tears, but this is one of the exceptions. It tells the story of Willie Beech, a young boy who is evacuated to the countryside and into Tom Oakley's house. Tom's brusque manner alarms Willie at first and he's terrified that he'll be punished for simply existing. However, he soon realises that he can make friends and that he can be loved by the adults in his life. Nevertheless, his mother's hold is still strong and he soon leaves behind his happy life in the countryside when he is summoned to London.
This book is hard-to-read (emotionally) at times and Magorian covers topics that can be challenging to discuss with a Y6 class, but don't be put off. The story is so moving, so intriguing and so beautifully written that it will be a travesty if you don't share it with them. Prepare yourself for questions and plan time to answer them, be it through circle time or extended guided reading.
Willie is so timid, so frightened at the start of the story that you can't help but feel sympathy for his plight. I love the change in the character of 'Mister Tom' too - the character arc is so wonderfully written and he becomes so attached to Will that it warms you down to your toes. Their relationship is the glue that keeps your emotions together - most of the time, anyway.
The book is a perfect addition to a topic on WW2, but be mindful of its tough storyline. It isn't one to tackle lightly, so read it yourself before you read it with your class. It's a wonderful story and one that will stick with you long after you close the cover.
It's a film about a wartime evacuee, a young boy, who is sent out into the country for his own safety to live with a widower. The film covers their at first difficult relationship and eventual friendship but then, after the boy has to go back to London, it moves on to cover the old man's search for the boy in London, just to know that he is ok.
The acting, as you'd expect from John Thaw, is excellent as it is by the young boy, Nick Robinson, and the change in them and their relationship throughout the film is great to watch. The film is has both sad and happy moments but that leads to a wonderful film.
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