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Borstal Boy

Borstal Boy (2002)



Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 33
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 18

The sentimentality of Borstal Boy feels false in contrast to the gritty life of the actual Brendan Behan.


Average Rating: 5.5/10
Critic Reviews: 16
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 11

The sentimentality of Borstal Boy feels false in contrast to the gritty life of the actual Brendan Behan.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 1,639

My Rating

Movie Info

Brendan Behan's famous memoir about his troubled youth formed the basis of this drama. Brendan (Shawn Hatosy) is a 16-year-old boy from Ireland who loathes the British and is eager to do something about it. Brendan sails into Liverpool, but is discovered to be carrying the makings of a bomb; he's soon placed under arrest and thrown into a borstal (British reform school), where he finds himself surrounded by a collection of tough-as-nails English delinquents. While his political beliefs don't

Oct 15, 2002

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All Critics (37) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (18) | DVD (1)

Behan's emotional growth and confused self-examination are ably conveyed by Hatosy's spirited and well-nuanced performance.

October 14, 2002 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
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Dripping with cliche and bypassing no opportunity to trivialize the material.

June 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Boston Globe
Boston Globe
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Takes a clunky TV-movie approach to detailing a chapter in the life of the celebrated Irish playwright, poet and drinker.

May 2, 2002
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Well-made but mush-hearted.

April 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
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A film that will probably please people already fascinated by Behan but leave everyone else yawning with admiration.

April 12, 2002 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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Serves as a powerful reminder that children have been willing to die for the hatred in which they've been schooled for a long time now.

April 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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Hatosy's Irish accent was way better than I expected.

April 8, 2005
New Times

A gentle and engrossing character study.

January 30, 2003 Full Review Source: RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)

Sheridan had a wonderful account to work from, but, curiously, he waters it down, turning grit and vulnerability into light reading.

May 17, 2002 Full Review Source: Oregonian

Hatosy establishes himself here not only as the bona fide star of this little ensemble film, but also as a talent to be watched.

May 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Bee

The film is saved by its performances.

April 29, 2002 Full Review Source: Sacramento News & Review
Sacramento News & Review

Borstal Boy represents the worst kind of filmmaking, the kind that pretends to be passionate and truthful but is really frustratingly timid and soggy.

April 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

"I blame all men for war," [the warden's daughter] tells her father. The movie is about as deep as that sentiment.

March 27, 2002 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

A solid and refined piece of moviemaking imbued with passion and attitude.

March 18, 2002 Full Review Source:

The film creates an effective sense of time and place, though Sheridan is not above hitting us over the head with obvious stylistic contrivances.

March 7, 2002
New Times

Audience Reviews for Borstal Boy

A very nice story of young Brendan Behan that shows love sometimes is found in unexpected places. As with any movie with WWII as a backdrop, there is not always a lot of sunshine, but the sweetness of youth is demonstrated.
March 13, 2011

Super Reviewer

I think the average fan of Danny Dyer, may be a little disappointed with this film as he doesn?t play his stereotypical type of role. Performance-wise, it was a good surprise that the Actor wasn?t typecast, however it lacked any major excitement.
February 4, 2009

Super Reviewer

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