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New Film Tells True Story From World War II

This article is more than 8 years old.

The new movie "The Railway Man" tells the story of Eric Lomax, a British soldier captured and tortured by Japanese soldiers during World War II.

The memories haunt his relationship with his wife, Patti Lomax, but eventually he returns to Japan, meets his tormentor and reaches a kind of forgiveness with him.

Colin Firth stars as Eric Lomax. Nicole Kidman plays Patti. The film opens tomorrow in New York and in other major markets next Friday.

Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with the real life Patti and screenwriter Andy Paterson.

Interview Highlights

Patti Lomax on her late husband being a 'mess' after the war

"I was his second wife. The 'mess' had contributed to the breakup of his first marriage, partly because he couldn't express what was causing his own pain and problems. But we met in 1980 and eventually were married for 31 years. ... He was a very interesting person. ... He obviously was a very well-educated, well-read person. He knew a great deal of the history of the railway line, as it shows in the film. He was able to tell me points of interest as we passed up the line. But he had the most — how can I describe it? His eyes were so deep and compelling, very blue eyes. The rest of him was a little bit unkempt. But he also had that magic something, something undefinable, but very attractive."

Andy Paterson on what he wanted to get across about Eric Lomax

"This was a man who came back unable to talk. ... The term [PTSD] did not yet exist, and so they had no idea that there even was a problem, they just thought they were a mess. AEric once said to me 'I never expected to be happy again.' He was the most compelling character, but we needed to get inside his head to try and understand this journey from wanting to have revenge — literally wanting to kill this young Japanese interrogater and interpreter — and making a journey, as the film shows, to a very different place.

Patti Lomax on what happened when she and Eric went to Japan

"I was very aware that Eric was not going to meet this person for friendship's sake. he really intended right up to the meeting to kill him. So it was a very stressful event. But in the event, Eric was not faced by this young hated figure. He was faced with meeting an old gentleman like himself who obviously was very, very contrite. And I don't think Eric could really describe to himself except to say the hating just drained away."


  • Andy Paterson, screenwriter for "The Railway Man."
  • Patti Lomax, wife of Eric Lomax, who was captured during World War II.

This segment aired on April 10, 2014.


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