My Boy Jack
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Its 1915 and World War I has been declared. Aged only 17 Kiplings son like most of his generation is swept up in the enthusiasm to fight the Germans a mood stoked vigorously by his father. Jack is cripplingly short sighted and the army has rejected him twice rendering him too myopic even for an army suffering thousands of casualties a week and desperate for recruits. Yet Rudyard is undeterred determined that his son should go to the front like countless other sons and fight for the values that he Kipling espouses so publicly. Using his fame and influence Kipling persuades Lord Roberts on his death bed to get Jack a commission in the Irish guards. This intervention is barely tolerated by Carrie and daughter Elise (Carey Mulligan) as they disagree that Jack is fit to fight and fear for his safety on the front line. Jack is instantly popular with his troop he is a great leader and trains tirelessly to overcome the disability that is his eyesight. Six months later Jack sails to France as a lieutenant. Jack went missing in action during the Battle of Loos and his mother and father carried out an increasingly desperate search for him spanning many years and many miles.Running Time: 93 min.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: TELEVISION/BBC UPC: 883929009350 Manufacturer No: 1000037030
As affecting as it is thought-provoking, ITV's My Boy Jack illustrates the dangers of unbridled patriotism. To grow up the child of a famous author is burden enough, but when the boy must embody the beliefs of the man, the consequences can be devastating. In the case of John "Jack" Kipling (Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe in his most mature role to date), 17-year-old son of Rudyard Kipling (Four Weddings and a Funeral's David Haig), his father's passion for King and Country leads to a preventable tragedy. Based on Haig's play, the proceedings begin in 1914, prior to the outbreak of World War II. Jack attempts to join the army and the navy, but both reject him due to severe shortsightedness, so Kipling Sr. pulls strings to place him with the Irish Guards. Jack's sister, Elsie (Bleak House's Carey Mulligan), and American-born mother, Caroline (a brunette Kim Cattrall), would rather he serve the war effort at home. Through hard work and determination, Jack scales the ranks from private to lieutenant, but goes missing in France, and many months pass before the family solves the mystery of his disappearance. In the end, My Boy Jack, which aired in England on Remembrance Day, concerns itself more with paying tribute than apportioning blame, and Haig skillfully portrays Kipling's guilt in putting his son in harms way and pride in a brave soldier who "played his part properly." Special features include interviews and deleted scenes. Parental advisory suggested due to situation-appropriate language and teen smoking. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Its 1915 and World War I has been declared. Aged only 17, Kiplings son, like most of his generation, is swept up in the enthusiasm to fight the Germans, a mood stoked vigorously by his father. Jack is cripplingly short sighted and the army has rejected him twice, rendering him too myopic even for an army suffering thousands of casualties a week and desperate for recruits. Yet Rudyard is undeterred, determined that his son should go to the front, like countless other sons, and fight for the values that he, Kipling, espouses so publicly. Using his fame and influence, Kipling persuades Lord Roberts, on his death bed, to get Jack a commission in the Irish guards. This intervention is barely tolerated by Carrie and daughter Elise (Carey Mulligan), as they disagree that Jack is fit to fight and fear for his safety on the front line. Jack is instantly popular with his troop he is a great leader and trains tirelessly to overcome the disability that is his eyesight. Six months later Jack sails to France as a lieutenant. Jack went missing in action during the Battle of Loos and his mother and father carried out an increasingly desperate search for him, spanning many years and many miles.
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Top Customer Reviews
I was mesmerized by the beauty of the cinematography, the evocative musical score, the fine writing, and, above all, the acting. Daniel Radcliffe displays a remarkable and subtle acting ability far beyond his years. Kim Cattrall and David Haig were likewise extraordinary.
However, I don't think I could bring myself to watch this film again -- it is so heartrending and ultimately heartbreaking that it would be difficult. It is a magnificent accomplishment, but emotionally exhausting.
Finally, as someone who has written on the Great War, I will note that the film is true to both the zeal with which the young men of 1914 enlisted and the horrors that greeted them when they reached the trenches. Many only made sense of that horror by regarding it, in the words of H. G. Wells, as "the war to end all war." In that they would be sorely disappointed. More than perhaps any other war, the unfinished business of the First World War lay the foundation for the Second.
Of course, not everyone felt that way. G. K. Chesterton, whose brother would die at the war's end, warned that telling the later waves of soldiers, more reluctant than the first, that they were fighting to end war itself made no more sense that telling a workman reluctantly about to depart for his day's labors, that he was about to engage in the "work to end all work." Wars can only prevented one at a time, he stressed, by displaying the same wisdom, foresight and courage that is necessary to win a war. In 1932 he would go still further and warn that unless something was soon done, Germany would drag Europe into war that would make the first look like nothing. He laid particular blame on the "young men of 1914" who'd criticized their elders for not preventing the Great War. Those young men, he pointed out, were now the "old men" in charge.Read more ›
It is based on a play, and I believe the judgment shown in cutting Act 3 of David Haig's play and substituting a reading of Kipling's poem works splendidly for the film.
The acting and casting and directing are superb.
And the locations and sets, as is the standard for BBC drama, are wonderful to the eye.
Few films convey both the hopes, wishes, and ideology which go into the making of war and the utter futility and waste of its grim reality, and that is just what this masterpiece achieves.
World War I was built on glib phrases, airy patriotism, and emotional heroics - although in reality it was nothing more than a fight between two branches of a royal family over dominance on the continent of Europe.
It ended by killing 20 million people in the most grotesque fashion and setting the stage for World War II which would kill 50 million more.
The World War I generals repeated pretty much the tactics of the American Civil War, confirming the old saying about generals always fighting the last war, but they did so with such grimly efficient new killing technologies as heavy machine guns, tanks, poison gas, and flamethrowers.
The film's poignancy comes in part from the fact that World War I - unlike World War II or America's Vietnam Holocaust - saw the finest and best educated and most highly connected young men often volunteering, and dying.
I wish every dreamy-eyed schoolchild had this film in his or her history curriculum.
Recommended without reservation.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a beautifully acted and well paced film, not a tear-tearjerker, though sad enough. The fine performances, led by Daniel Radcliffe as Jack, invite thoughtful compassion and... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Gayle Gibson
Autobiographical story about Rudyard Kipling. Kipling made a huge mistake sending his son into battle. Want the truth about WW1,this is the movie to see.Published on June 15 2014 by Terry Ames
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