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My Boy Jack (2008)

David Haig , Daniel Radcliffe , Brian Kirk  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: David Haig, Daniel Radcliffe, Kim Cattrall, Carey Mulligan, Julian Wadham
  • Directors: Brian Kirk
  • Writers: David Haig
  • Producers: David Haig, Douglas Rae, James Flynn, Mary Alleguen, Michael Casey
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 22, 2008
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0011FDVGI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,053 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "My Boy Jack" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Interview with Daniel Radcliffe, David Haig, and Kim Cattrall
  • Deleted scenes

Editorial Reviews

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 harm’s 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

Product Description

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.

DVD Features:
Deleted Scenes

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
84 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Coming of Age in a Time of War... April 21, 2008
2007's "My Boy Jack" is an extraordinarily good drama for television, featuring an excellent cast and a compelling story about the First World War, based on a play and a screenplay by David Haig.

When Britain goes to war with Imperial Germany in 1914, young men sign up in droves for the military. John "Jack" Kipling, son of famous writer and British Empire advocate Rudyard Kipling, is anxious to serve in uniform but rejected due to poor eyesight. Overruling the concerns of his wife and daughter, Kipling Senior pulls some strings to get Jack a commission in the Irish Guards. Jack works hard to overcome the challenge of his eyesight, in the process becoming a competent lieutenant and earning the respect of his platoon. All too quickly, Jack ships out for the Western Front, where he goes missing in action in his first mission "over the top" from the trenches at Loos in 1915. The family will spend agonizing months trying to learn his whereabouts. A shell-shocked member of Jack's platoon will finally bring word of Jack's fate.

David Haig is uncanny as Rudyard Kipling, Jack's father, a superbly talented storyteller and novelist, now a government propagandist trying to make sense of hideous casualties. His efforts to enable his son to "do his part" will be a source of immense guilt when Jack goes missing. Kim Cattrell is astonishingly good as Carrie, Jack's American mother. Haunted by the loss of another child, Carrie advocates for a position of less danger for her son, whom she fears will be at additional risk due to his poor eyesight. When Jack goes missing, Carrie is relentless in tracking down clues to his possible fate.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Poignant Story April 21, 2008
It has been a long time since I saw a Masterpiece (Theater) program that was so thought provoking and moving; the performances are superb and true to heart. David Haig (who wrote the play My Boy Jack) is the very image of Rudyard Kipling. He is shows us the jingoistic author who believes that war against the Germans is a crusade to keep the Huns out of England. When he must confront the loss of his son, Mr. Haig shows the emotional side of Kipling with great tenderness. His son John Kipling (in fact his youngest child) is caught up in the belief that the war will be an heroic adventure, but he also wants to go to war because it will be a release for him to become his own man and escape from his father's fame and reputation. For me, Daniel Radcliffe did an excellent job of portraying the dissatisfaction that Jack has with his life and his desire to escape. Kim Cattrall is nicely cast as Jack's mother. Kipling married the daughter of his American literary agent and lived in the United States for several years before returning to England. Ms. Cattrall sensitively conveys the grief over the loss of Jack and the hope that everyone holds that as long as a body has not been found there is a chance for life.

Also of interest is that the film was made at the Kipling home - Bateman - which is now owned by the National Trust. Daniel Radcliffe mentioned in an interview that he saw a place where the real John Kipling had carved his initials. The battlefield scenes are well conceived and the actors convey the fear and horror of war perfectly. My Boy Jack is a film I will never forget and deserves to have a wide audience.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful/Tragic story January 7, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I found this made for TV film to be the most moving film I have seen in a long time. It was beautifully written by David Haig and beautifully filmed. In my humble opinion everyone in this film gave an outstanding performance. The relaionship between David Haig and Daniel Radcliffe on screen was wonderful. I felt the father/son relaionship was so rich and touching, they could have been father/son in real life.
I personally feel that is also one of the best performances I have ever seen from Mr. Radcliffe.
I higly recommend this film, not just for the actors who are in it (David,Dan and Kim) but because this is an extremely important story that I think everyone should see.
I also recommend having a big box of kleenax on hand as well, this film will make you cry!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and Moving December 27, 2009
I won't comment on the historical accuracies or inaccuracies of this film (for example, obviously we cannot know what Jack's final moments were exactly like; the only reason this gets a 4). While the changing of events in otherwise historical films can severely detract from the quality of the work, I do not believe that was the case here, as I feel this is much more about the characters than anything else.

I purchased this because I am a long time fan of Kipling, and the first thing I thought of when I saw this movie in the store was, "Hey, that's the name of a Kipling poem!" I picked it up, read the back of the case, and bought it.

The acting is superb. Daniel Radcliffe, otherwise known for his work in the Harry Potter movies, pulls of this dramatic role powerfully and believably. Haig's performance as the senior Kipling is incredibly moving. First, I was appalled at how he glorified war and the state, and then I felt pity for his loss and heartbreak, but the important thing is that in both cases I FELT it, and I BELIEVED it. This was truly some of the best acting I've seen this year.

The anguish that Jack's parents felt was powerful and moving, and Haig's reciting of the poem at the end of the movie literally gave me goosebumps and, yes I'll admit, brought a few tears to my eyes.

I highly recommend this movie. 4.5 stars
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars My Boy Jack
My Boy Jack

I wrote my master's thesis about Kipling, after arguing bitterly with my mother when I was twelve and she decided to give our edition of Kipling to the... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Anne Wingate
3.0 out of 5 stars The Glory of War
Daniel Randadliffe does a good job portraying Kipling's son determined with the help of his famous father(David Haig) to enlist, hopefully with a commission, and fight the good... Read more
Published 4 days ago by mk
4.0 out of 5 stars Thumbs up
Very nicely done. Can't vouch for the historical accuracy or how closely the movie followed the actual facts; but it got it's point across. The cast was well done.
Published 14 days ago by T. Harrelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
wonderful movie; great service
Published 28 days ago by Layne Chartrand
5.0 out of 5 stars War, From the Parent's Point of View
This war movie is very unique in that it tells the story of warfare primarily from the point of view of the parents of the soldier. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Carl Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent portrayl of a young mans determination to look after his...
This is an excellent movie that begins with rejection, perseverance, adapting and finally overcomming his physical short commings to bedome an excellent dommander. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Greg Parkinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Rudyard Kipling: "Have You News of my Boy Jack?"
That this film was made for television is not at all apparent when experiencing it. (It was made, by the way, with support from the Irish Government. Read more
Published 2 months ago by brian komyathy
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting...
to see so huge a personality as Kipling come to life. I felt Mr. Haig was absolutely fantastic! In fact the entire cast was awesome and I enjoyed everything about the film. Read more
Published 3 months ago by L. Stellfox
5.0 out of 5 stars Learned something new!
My Boy Jack brought tears to my eyes. The sad ending makes us all wonder about pushing our children to do something they may not be able to achieve.
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars It's a just war (but just enough to sacrifice my son to it?)
I bought this movie based on a recommendation made by a British defence affairs blog. It's based on a play written by David Haig, the actor who plays Rudyard Kipling in the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Anthony Prudori
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