Boy A


Boy A

Critics Consensus

Small in scale but large in impact, Boy A's career making performances (particularly that by star Andrew Garfield) and carefully crafted characters defy judgment and aggressively provoke debate.



Total Count: 59


Audience Score

User Ratings: 36,137
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Movie Info

A man looking to shed his former identity in order to move beyond his traumatic past discovers that the past and the future are inexorably linked in director John Crowley's feature adaptation of a novel by author Jonathan Trigell. Terry (Peter Mullan) is a caseworker whose job it is to help people create new lives. His latest charge is a young man with a troubled past who eventually decides on the new name Jack (Andrew Garfield). Jack has decided to start a new life in Manchester, where no one is aware of his sordid history. As Jack begins his new job in a new town, he quickly catches the attention of beautiful co-worker Michelle (Katie Lyons). While Michelle's advances are unmistakable, Jack remains somewhat awkward in his new skin and the initial encounters between the pair are somewhat clumsy. Later, as the two new lovers begin experiencing the thrill of connecting with a kindred soul, Jack performs a heroic feat that finds him celebrated as a local hero, and it begins to look like he has successfully made the transition into his new life. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Boy A

All Critics (59) | Top Critics (28)

  • It makes us feel sympathy for the devil.

    Sep 12, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Director John Crowley, a veteran Irish theater director now working in film, is deliberate with every last element of his film.

    Sep 5, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Even its structurally weaker moments give Garfield an opportunity to expand on Jack's physical and mental dislocation. Given Boy A's final floating reel, it's an anchoring performance in every sense of the word.

    Aug 29, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • The movie is taut with suspense but culminates in wise resignation as the hero comes to understand he's running from a part of himself.

    Aug 12, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Crowley gets a remarkable performance from Andrew Garfield: his Jack is a person who carries guilt with him even when he is trying to override it.

    Aug 11, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Boy A is one of those rare movies that takes the idea of rehabilitation seriously. In the end, it may present a worst-case scenario, but it does so with unusual depth and conviction.

    Aug 8, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/4

Audience Reviews for Boy A

  • Mar 02, 2013
    Boy A is an imperfect but thoughtful drama about forgiveness and guilt with a great star turn by Andrew Garfield in his first movie role. It tells the story of Jack (played by Garfield), a young adult recently released from prison after committing a horrible crime at a young age. Jack wants nothing more than to put his past behind and start up a new life in Manchester, but to do that he has to hide his past from everyone around him, and soon people begin to suspect that he is not who he says he is. The plot can get somewhat predictable at times, but luckily the ending is far from that of a Hollywood movie. The movie poses questions about whether ex-criminals like Jack deserve to be forgiven and given a second chance, and it tries to provide the answer by making Jack a very sympathetic and guilt-stricken character. He made a serious mistake when he was younger and he wants to start over, but not everyone is on board to let that happen. Boy A makes for a thoughtful drama about actions and consequences, and thanks an impressive performance from Andrew Garfield and an interesting story, it's worth watching.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • Aug 23, 2012
    This film does everything that you wish a film would do. It takes the dark past of a murderer, turns him into a likeable character and makes you feel for him more than any other character. Andrew Garfield is astonishing in this film, in which sparked his career as an actor. In his first starring role, his performance feels very real and true. By the end of the film, you will have been captivated by every scene that there will be no possible way to dislike this movie. Not only do I love every second of "Boy A," but I it kept my thinking after the movie ended and I cannot wrap my mind around the brilliant conclusion, if you can even call it that. This film, in my eyes, is a masterpiece!
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Apr 28, 2012
    Relying on an excellent performance by Andrew Garfield and at first a thought-provoking film about guilt, atonement and the right to start over as a new person, after two intriguing acts it all soon ends in a contrived conclusion that is disappointing and insubstantial.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 14, 2011
    A very interesting film where the director plays on the sympathy and likeness to character who has the past of a murderer. The idea of giving people a second chance in life is a common theme, and for the most part, the second chance is shown in a positive light. The twist in the movie comes from the question; with time should all crimes or mistakes be forgiven and forgotten no matter the scale? The film does not conclude with solid answers, but rather dwells on it's complex ideas.
    Shawn E Super Reviewer

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