Some Mother's Son (1996) - Rotten Tomatoes

Some Mother's Son (1996)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Some Mother's Son Videos

Some Mother's Son Photos

Movie Info

A 1981 hunger strike in a Belfast prison is the historical inspiration for the drama Some Mother's Son, which attempts to focus on the personal dimensions of the event through its portrayal of the families of the striking prisoners. Directed by Terry George, co-author of In the Name of the Father, the film is anchored by Helen Mirren's performance as Kathleen Quigley, an educated, thoughtful schoolteacher who feels the Irish-English conflict is remote from her life until her son is arrested for his involvement with the Irish Republican Army. Yet while she supports her son and works to save his life, Kathleen nevertheless maintains her disdain for violence. This is in great contrast to Annie Higgins, the mother of Gerard's collaborator, who wholeheartedly embraces the IRA's mission. Despite their differing philosophies, the women form an uneasy bond over the suffering of their imprisoned sons. Kathleen finds herself increasingly politicized but finds herself facing a moral dilemma when the prisoners begin a hunger strike. As Gerard's next of kin, it is her right to agree to intravenous feeding should her son enter a coma; however, many people, including Annie, would see such as an act as betrayal of the strike, leaving Kathleen with a choice between saving her son's life and respecting his cause.
  • Rating:
    PG (adult situations/language, violence)
  • Genre:
  • Directed By:
  • Written By:
  • In Theaters:
  • On DVD:
  • Runtime:
  • Studio:
    Warner Home Video

Watch it now


Helen Mirren
as Kathleen Quigley
Fionnula Flanagan
as Annie Higgins
John Lynch
as Bobby Sands
Aidan Gillen
as Gerard Quigley
David O'Hara
as Frank Higgins
Tim Woodward
as Harrington
Tom Hollander
as Farnsworth
Ciarán Hinds
as Danny Boyle
Gerard McSorley
as Father Daly
Geraldine O'Rawe
as Alice Quigley
Dan Gordon
as Inspector McPeake
Grainne Delany
as Theresa Higgins
Ciaran Fitzgerald
as Liam Quigley
Robert Lang
as Government Minister
Stephen Hogan
as Young Turk
Peter Howitt
as SAS Leader
Bosco Hogan
as British Captain
Jimmy Keogh
as Jimmy Higgins
John Kavanagh
as Cardinal
Oliver Maguire
as Frank Maguire
Doreen Keogh
as Mother Superior
Anna Megan
as Rosie Quigley
John Higgins
as John Deegan
Joan Sheehy
as 1st Woman Searcher
Mal Whyte
as Barrister
Barry Cassin
as Prosecutor
Brian Mallon
as Prison Office Jones
Sean Lawlor
as Platoon Leader
Michael Sherrie
as Assistant Governor
James Hickey
as Young Son
Karen Carlisle
as Prisoner's Girlfriend
Fiona Higgins
as Prisoner's Sister
Jer O'Leary
as Hunger Striker
Tim McDonnell
as Hunger Striker
Tony Flynn
as Cyclist
Liam Byrne
as Prisoner Murphy
Pat Mulryan
as 1st IRA Man
Valerie Roe
as Girl in Farnsworth's Office
Deirdre McAliskey
as Woman in Court
Michael S. O'Sullivan
as Prison Office David
Jennifer Gibney
as 2nd Woman Searcher
Robert Taylor
as Election Agent
Kate Perry
as Prison Officer's Widow
Anthony Brophy
as Prisoner's Leader
Mickey McEneaney
as Merry Mac Member
Paddy McEneaney
as Merry Mac Member
Gene Berrills
as Merry Mac Member
Ronan O'Donoghue
as Radio Announcer
Richard Neilson
as Radio Announcer
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Some Mother's Son

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (7)

If Son were as strong in its storytelling as its characters are in their convictions, it would be more than well-acted political soap.

January 1, 2000
USA Today
Top Critic

Riveting political drama about the importance of conscience and following the imperatives of the heart.

Full Review… | August 26, 2002
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Some Mother's Son


Gives a fairly good insight into the ' H Block ' prisoner story but not enough attention to detail really. I think there should be a more biographical movie made about this story and Bobby Sands and the other POWs. Great actors all around in this one however. If you dont know about this story or the H Block prisoners , this film is a good way to start your research. Not too complicated,,,not too boring. Makes you think!

stacy pulliam
stacy pulliam

This is a great film that I can't help but watch every now and then.

Leo L
Leo L

Super Reviewer

This was a very touching movie. I really enjoyed it in the sense that it really opens your eyes and the actors were very talented. Kathleen Quigley (Helen Mirren) leads a normal life until her son, Gerard (Aidan Gillen) is arrested because he is involved with the IRA (Irish Repulbican Army). He is sent to prison along with countless other men and treated like a criminal for fighting for his countries rights. Kathleen's world is turned upside down and she finds her self grabbing onto Annie Higgins (Fionnula Flanagan), the mother of another imprisoned IRA fighter. When the boys go on hunger strike the mothers must decide to go agianst their son's beliefs to save their sons or let them die. Based on true events. Everyone's performance was great in this film but Fionnula Flanagan (Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, Four Brothers) always stands out in her roles. She is just an amazing actress and still so beautiful at 64. I didn't think that I could dislike Aidan's Gillen's voice anymore but I was wrong. Not only was he unattractive in this role, his voice! And when ever he was in the background he had his mouth hanging open with this vaacant brain dead look on his face. Not attractive. He looked like his face was numb and he had no control of facial exspression. IRA attacks are still going on in Ireland today. Both the rebels and soldiers are being killed. Gerard says to Kathleen after killing a soldier, "He was just a soldier Ma." and Kathleen replies "He was some mother's son, just like you're mine." That was a very powerful line and that is what the movie is about. It didn't matter what side that the mothers were on the still lost a son.

Emily Bielewicz
Emily Bielewicz

Some Mother's Son Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss Some Mother's Son on our Movie forum!

News & Features