The Professor and the Madman

Drama History


A Scotsman without formal qualification is engaged to edit a dictionary for Oxford University, and a murderer in a criminal asylum submits contributions.

The making of the first Oxford dictionary is an interesting story, but this version overreaches in its narrative and blurs the academic achievement by including many (ultimately distracting) threads. The movie is left directionless and unsure of what to focus on. The filmmakers are too interested in the 'madman' suffering psychosis and give the plot some quite ludicrous turns; it provides one of the leads a chance to showcase some raw acting skills, but also further alienates audiences. Alphabet soup.

Anne Murphy

Limited Release 20th February 2020
Transmission Films 125 mins