In 1993 Deborah Lipstadt, a Jewish Holocaust historian published a book Denying the Holocaust and in that book took aim at one particularly obnoxious and vociferous UK based denier named David Irving. To gain some attention Irving sued her and her publisher, Penguin Books. This film is a dramatization of that trial which dragged out over several weeks and about which the judgement was in doubt. Under UK law it was incumbent on Lipstadt to prove she had not libelled Irving and not on Irving to prove he was libelled. It made a challenging situation. Lipstadt could have settled out of court but she wanted to confront this challenge head on. If she lost, then Holocaust denial would be lent legitimacy it did not deserve and her own historical work put in doubt. Although the story was true and the outcome was known (I will keep that to myself for now) the drama is tense and the themes of dealing with holocaust deniers are emotionally packed and explored. The cast is great including Tom Wilkinson (the barrister), Timothy Spall (David Irving), Rachel Weisz (Lipstadt) and Andrew Scott(the solicitor). Andrew Scott may be known to more of you for his very scary and creepy portrayal of Moriarty in the Sherlock series. I had trouble separating him from that role which actually made his role in this film even more effective. You are never sure where he stands or what he is up to. Spall puts in another incredible acting performance as the evil Irving and you really want to reach into the screen and throttle him. Wilkinson is the supreme brilliant understated performance. I did not look at my watch once in the two hours.
So bottom line: this is a very very good movie and deserves large audiences and awards. The theme is important and presented powerfully. I saw this at the Winter Garden and the director got a standing ovation from the whole crowd. It was very much deserved.