Directed by Farhad Safinia (his first feature film) and starring Mel Gibson (Braveheart; Lethal Weapon; Mad Max; Signs; Ransom; Edge of Darkness; The Patriot), Sean Penn (Mystic River; Milk; Carlito's Way; The Interpreter), Natalie Dormer (In Darkness; The Hunger Games; Captain America: The First Avenger; Game of Thrones (tv series)).
Historical drama; 124 mins
Based on Simon Winchester's book "The Surgeon of Crowthorne", the story is set in Oxford (but filmed in Trinity College, Dublin) in the mid 19th century, where Professor James Murray (Mel Gibson) begins work compiling words for the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. With the help of a small team, he starts to realise that they are not progressing fast enough, particularly as they are researching the origins of all words through the centuries.
When they launch a public appeal, they catch the attention of Dr. William Chester Minor (Sean Penn) who has been incarcerated in Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum after being found guilty of the murder of a man. In one of the main sub-plots, he wants to give his US military pension to the man's widow, Eliza Merrett (Natalie Dormer), who is struggling to bring up three young children.
Dr. Minor responds with gusto and delivers over 10,000 entries, which signals the start of a very unusual friendship in the pursuit of, and perseverance needed to accomplish, such a mammoth task...
A wonderful, captivating and inspiring period tale based on a true story, with the costumes and setting thoroughly convincing, with superb acting performances and great chemistry between the three main characters, with some heartfelt scenes.
Who would have thought that a film about people writing a dictionary could so engrossing?