My Boy Jack - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

My Boy Jack Reviews

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July 23, 2017
Rudyard Kipling's boy goes to war. It doesn't go well.
February 18, 2016
Very well made movie of a touching story. well directed and enacted.
½ August 8, 2015
I was very impressed with this movie! David Haig gave an excellent portrayal of Kipling in the era of war glory for king and country. Radcliff gave an outstanding performance and proved that he could work outside the Potter mold. All 4 chief actors gave an awesome performance. I highly recommend it!
December 31, 2014
Solid well done little story. Solid acting. Probably not going to be that memorable, though.
April 21, 2014
A fabulous insight of a story into how pride and determination can cost you so much. Well acted by all involved.
December 11, 2013
One of the best movies... perfect cast with the finest acting ever! No matter how many times I have seen this film it always brings a flood of tears to my eyes...
September 20, 2013
One of the most underrating films of 2007. The story is great, the acting is good (event though radcliffe may seem a bit dodgy sometimes) and the directing is great. A movie I recommend.
July 24, 2013
I am going to pass on this one.
May 26, 2013
I love Kipling's work. This story about him and his son touches me.
April 24, 2013
His Mom Is So Swell!

It must be hard to have a parent who is well known for being seriously into a cause, whatever that cause may be. Especially if there's some reason you can't be part of it whether you want to or not. I mean, it's not even relevant to the story if the boy wants to do what his father wants him to do. The issue is that, for very good reasons, he can't. This means, all other issues aside, that he is Disappointing His Father, and that can get into all sorts of complicated issues. At least if you disagree with said parent, you can make a stand. You can use it as a way to become your own person, even, if you have the stomach for it. Not all children do, and that gets into its own horrible problems. However, some people never have a choice. That must be . . . not completely painful, exactly, but deeply frustrating. To have the whole thing taken out of your hands? That must be agonizing.

The boy is Jack Kipling (Daniel Radcliffe). His father, of course, is Rudyard (David Haig). Even before World War I began, Rudyard Kipling was going around, lecturing about the evils of the Hun and how they were poised to roll over the opposition and eventually take over England. Jack knows that the best thing he can do for his father's career is to join the military. Unfortunately, Jack has incredibly bad eyesight, so bad that it's probably only just barely correctable. In order to get into the military, you do pretty much have to be able to see. Jack can't, and as he is trying, Germany and England go to war. He is rejected by the Navy. He is rejected by the Army, despite the fact that his father is right there, lending his support. His father, who is also friends with King George V (Julian Wadham), finally manages to get him into the Irish Guards. His American mother, Caroline (Kim Catrall), and his sister, Elsie (Carey Mulligan), are less approving, especially since they know the death rate among young officers.

I haven't Kippled very much. I read [i]The Just-So Stories[/i] when I was a child, but other than that and a few of the poems, I haven't really read any. His belief that there could still be glory in war, even after his own son's futile death, is part of it. I don't think he was a bad person, but I think we had some fundamental personality differences in how we see the world. I think the Indian people would in many ways have done much better if the English had just left them alone, for example. I like to believe that war could still have been avoided, even after the unfortunate death of that poor archduke and his wife. (Especially since they weren't even in line for the throne, given she was a commoner!) I think the more likely reaction to the news that thousands of my countrymen were slaughtered would be to think I was well out of whatever started it, not that I, too, must join them in their cause. And I wouldn't have been able to write the propaganda he did during the war.

As to poor Jack Kipling, Daniel Radcliffe version or otherwise, all I was left with was a sense of futility. I mean, that's how I feel no matter what, when I think about World War I, but for once, the military was trying to save a young man from being slaughtered. One of the things I liked best about the movie was that, when Jack removed his glasses, the picture went as blurry as his vision must have been at the corresponding times. I mean, he was myopic enough (at least for the purposes of drama) that he couldn't even read the top letter of the eye chart, and you've got to be pretty blind for that. They're right; if you're that blind, and you lose your glasses, you're no good to anyone. He would have been considerably better off had his father just been willing to find him a job somewhere at HQ. Even a clerical job would be more useful, and all you'd have to worry about would be people pointing out the irony of Rudyard Kipling's son's not being in the trenches.

If I were Carrie or Elsie, I would have an extremely hard time forgiving Rudyard for Jack's death. Jack died because Rudyard pulled the strings that got him to the front. He died for his father's principles, not even his own. I don't think we can ever know what Jack Kipling felt about the war, the military, his country. I don't know how much, if any, writing he left, but I suspect most of it was letters home. How much can you trust those? He knew his father was going to see them, and he knew that, if he survived the war, he would be coming home to his family. Even after surviving World War I, I can't imagine that he'd want to argue with his father on subjects like honour, glory, duty, and patriotism. Sometimes, it's easier to just keep your mouth shut. However, after Jack's experiences, I imagine it would have been hard for him. Then again, the average lifespan in the trenches of someone in his rank was six weeks, so how likely was it to come up?
Super Reviewer
March 29, 2013
Surprisingly strong film, but it would have been more thought provoking with deeper examination of the post-mortem effects on the family. Jack's sister virtually vanishes from the struggle, and Kipling's interaction with the king is so devoid of expression (at least as to Jack) as to become filler. Kim Cattrall's performance was magnificent and makes the movie worth seeing on it's own. Kudos to Daniel Radcliffe for continuing to step outside the Harry Potter box and proving he's an actor of substance beyond the franchise.
Super Reviewer
February 4, 2013
Sad, extremely well acted tale of the senselessness of war and one family's experience. The father in this story is famous but it doesn't make their struggles any less universal. Daniel Radcliffe is terrific once again showing that he will be able to have a lifelong career far removed from Harry Potter. This is really a four person story and he is matched in excellence by the other three players, David Haig, Kim Cattrall and Carey Mulligan. A very moving story presented with great skill.
January 17, 2013
A brilliant film beautifully acted by Dan Radcliff, Kim Catrell and David Haig. It is a spot on portrayal about the devastating effects of war and loss. The complicated relationship between Kipling and his son is treated with great sensitivity and love.
We thought this was one of the finest films we've ever seen on world war two and its ramifications on many fronts.
November 1, 2012
loved it... so sad but sooo good! and dan radcliffe looks a little like hitler... lol
½ October 1, 2012
Yawn. Did anyone else think Daniel Radcliffe looked like Hitler with his moustache?
July 16, 2012
The true story of Rudyard Kipling's son John who joined the British Army at the outset of the first World War. Like most BBC/PBS productions, My Boy Jack is nicely acted, tightly edited and modestly budgeted.

Kim Catrell pulls of a spectacular performance and Carrey Mulligan is somewhat present but more of her would have been welcomed. Daniel Radcliffe was dedicated and really invested in his role... a far cry from Harry Potter. * Spoiler Alert* In the end it was lengthly and depressing as the main character (Radcliffe) dies ironicly. Not from his bad vision but being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
May 26, 2012
This movie was good and emotional. I liked it. It showed the family side of a war movie; most of the war movies only show the soldiers side. However, forgettable and too short.
½ May 16, 2012
Very good! Interesting insight into WWI era and the desire of young men to be included in the fight. Also great insight into Kipling. Excellent cast includes Carey Mulligan .
May 13, 2012
Pretty standard stuff, yet it's an interesting piece of history. Radcliffe is becoming a better actor all the time as well.
½ April 25, 2012
An amazing script that really dug into the characters' relationships. I also really liked the cinematography- how the scenes where Jack's eyes were being tested and he took off his glasses and the audience is able to see what he sees, which is a complete blur (out of focus); I loved how that technique came back when Jack's glasses fell off on the battlefield.
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