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4.6 out of 5 stars134
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 15 March 2013
Rudyard Kipling is best known for his wonderful stories on the Jungle Book. I didn't know much about Rudyard the man. I certainly didn't know he had an American wife! However, David Haig showed his range as an actor in this portrayal of the great author and Daniel Radcliffe was a revelation as the doomed young John Kipling. In fact the main characters were all very well performed including Kim Cattrall in a diversion from the ridiculous "Sex and the City". Just shows what she can do with a decent script.

From our standpoint of almost 100 years since the horrors of the trenches, it is hard to fathom how a father could go to such lengths to offer his son as a human sacrifice for Britain. But we should understand that in 100 years, we think differently and perceive things differently and there's no way I would let my son go so easily to war. But when people thought that the war was a jolly caper and if they didn't go, then they'd miss it because it would all be over by Christmas; it all seems totally ludicrous to our 21st Century thoughts.

It has never been fully known what happened to John Kipling at the bloody Battle of Loos. All we do know is that he was finally drafted as a young Lieutenant in the Irish Guards and led his men bravely into action in 1915 and he disappeared and his body was never found. The theory put forward makes for harrowing viewing. If you haven't seen the film, I won't spoil it!

The movie starts and ends with Kipling having an audience with King George and the sad poem Kipling recites at the end is so touching but a fitting tribute to a father grieving and possibly consumed with guilt at the part he played in sending John to war.

Yes, there could have been a piece about Kipling's work with the War Graves Commission but this film is ostensibly about John Kipling. Daniel Radcliffe takes a brave leap from Harry Potter to play John Kipling but he seems to fit very well into this role. As I have never seen any of the Harry Potter films, I didn't have any trouble in similarities. He was believable and worked well with the lovely Carey Mulligan playing his sister.

It may be rated 15 but I would let my own son watch it as I felt John Kipling's story was for all those young boys who went to war and never came home again.

Another lost soul among so many others.
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on 12 November 2007
David Haig has written an excellent play. Very moving. It is difficult for us to understand some of the attitudes of that time when, seemingly, the whole of Europe went to war rejoicing. The carnage was immense, the courage endless.

Daniel Radcliffe demonstrated this well with his sensitive portrayal of Jack.

I doubt Jack could have joined as a ranker. My grandfather tried to join up twice as a private soldier but was rejected on medical grounds. He had no-one to pull strings for him - otherwise I might not have been around to write this.

I do not believe that Daniel Radcliffe's acting career will be adversely affected by playing Harry Potter. Inevitably he will always be associated with the role but he is a very fine and capable actor. He comes across as a very fine young man.

Was all the sacrifce necessary? Ask yourself what Europe would have been like had the Kaiser won.
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on 15 November 2007
I adored this drama and thought that all of the performances were excellent.

David Haig portrayed Kipling superbly and Kim Cattrall was astonishing as Carrie Kipling. Daniel Radcliffe also played Jack Kipling heartbreakingly well and showed what a brave, determined and scared young man Jack was. And Carey Mulligan is definitely a young actress to watch out for.

I was in tears by the end of the drama and really moved by the whole story and the tragic loss of so many in such a short space of time. I think it was a timely reminder to everyone what effect the loss of that generation of men had on the families they left behind.

Definitely one of the best dramas on television this year.
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on 23 November 2007
Initially I was dubious. Not about the story, the loss of Kiplings son has been the subject of much conjecture, but about the casting.

Let's take Radcliffe, as the most famous. I'm sure most of us have been less than impressed with his acting in HP, one of the major gripes of the film series. Then we have Haig, and in my ignorance I only know him as Inspector Grim in 'The Thin Blue Line', in which he was by far the funniest in it, and worth buying the series, just for him. But, I couldn't see him doing this kind of serious acting. In fact, when I first started watching the film, I found it hard not to chuckle at many of his expressions. As for Cattrall, I don't really know who she is.

Yet I was astonished by them all.

The well documented story goes that Kipling, a patriotic zealot, inspired a call to arms for many young British men. But his own son could not get into the Navy due to poor eyesight. Eventually his father, desperate for his son to play some part, wrangles a way into the army as an officer. In the Battle of Loos, the day after his birthday, he is sent over the top, with his ragtag soldiers. But then nothing is heard of him, prompting the Kipling family to desperately try and discover what happened to him.

As well as being a simply story, it is also a commentary, as all these films are, of the horrors of war, the desperate waste of so many people dragged into it, and the grieving of the loved ones, left at home, with no news. It also highlights the dangers of nationalism, especially when it is be used to encourage men to sacrifice themselves for a fruitless cause (something relevant today with ongoing military campaigns).
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on 2 September 2009
This film is unbelievably realistic and a far cry from the glamorized Hollywood Blockbuster. Although Radcliffe was in Harry Potter you will forget this within five minutes of the film. Its historical accuracy is superb and has one of the saddest endings in the world. Five out of Five.
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on 1 September 2014
This was an exceptionally moving film with a lot of depth. It was almost a social history of the period at the beginning of WWI with all of the uncertainties of a war which was beginning to produce casualties of immense proportions. The conflict in the Kipling family was the key issue of the film, and the obedient, young lieutenant trying hard to please others and prove himself was the catalyst for a very deep film. It further exaggerated the class difference in England during the period and put into prospective what others might have been feeling. It was also the story of wasted lives, heroism, leadership, bravery beyond all limits. The acting was fantastic, the scenery breathe taking, and the portrayal of the period as accurate as one could have expected. This was a great film where a personal story delivered a message that should still be appreciated in these times. In one scene, LT Kipling asks his platoon, "Why are you here" ? The responses were similar to those that might be given in present times. Unfortunately, the LT did not answer his own question. The answer became apparent as the film developed.
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on 11 November 2007

Thats all that needs to be said really a moving screen play that makes you think. I rate both Daniel Radcliff and David Haig but the best suprise was Kim Catteral as Jacks mother.
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VINE VOICEon 15 September 2010
"Have you news of my boy Jack?"
Not this tide.
"When d'you think that he'll come back?"
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

A very sad film about the famous author Rudyard Kipling and his family. His son, who has poor eyesight wishes to do his part for King and Country at the start of World War I. His father who has become a Warmonger uses his influences to get him in the army after he is turned down by a medical examination on two occasions and both are enthusiastic about Jack's involvement in the war as a sense of adventure and doing your bit with a stiff upper lip, regardless of the news of mass casualties that this war produces.

The outcome is inevitable and the young officer goes missing leaving his father and family devastated for it is one thing to know that others are dying then when it becomes your son, your family and the tradegy hits you on a personal level.

It is a somber film, the story is well acted and told. It comes with my best recommendations.
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on 15 August 2009
I was didappointed that I missed the original broadcast but I visited Bateman's this week and was inspired to buy the DVD as well as a Kipling biography.

I thought the DVD was excellent with maturely committed writing and acting. The essence was not the detail of the war but the impact on the parents whose attitude to parenting was a-typical of the period.

My only dcisappintment was that there was no reference to Kipling's future work for the Imperial War Graves Commission to ensure that the graves of the war dead were given every honour. The parental grief did yield positive dividends for the rest of us.
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on 15 September 2014
I first saw 'My Boy Jack' back in November of 2007 when it was first broadcast to mark Armistice Day. I recently purchased it off here then in order to watch it again and, I have to say, it is simply a brilliant piece of drama.

The plot of the film basically follows the lives of the Kipling family prior to and during the First World War. In particular, the film follows the journey of Rudyard's only son, John (or Jack, as he was known to them). John wishes to enlist and to do his bit for King and Country. However, he is continually rejected on account of his extremely poor eyesight. Eventually, however, Rudyard is able to use his influence and obtains for John a place in the Irish Guards. When John heads off to war, it is not long before the Kipling family receive word that he is missing, presumed wounded. The remainder of the film deals with the Kipling's grief and their desperate attempts to come to terms with what actually happened to their son. Overall, it makes for a brilliant piece of drama. However, having said that, the story is a very sad one and one that brought a tear to my eye by the film's end.

The quality of the acting on offer here must be commended. For a start, David Haig is absolutely spectacular as Rudyard Kipling himself, an absolute masterful performance all round here! Secondly, Daniel Radcliffe brings a simple, yet touching performance to the role of John (Jack) Kipling. As other reviewers have stated, Radcliffe should not only be associated with Harry Potter; he is a very fine and capable actor, this film is proof of that. Finally, it may only be a supporting role for her, but Carey Mulligan is amazing as Elsie 'Bird' Kipling.

So, to conclude, 'My Boy Jack' is a brilliant piece of drama and it is a drama that I would highly recommend to all. The story is based on a true one, of course, and it is a story that is heart breaking, so much so that it brought a tear to my eye by the film's end. Furthermore, I would recommend this film to anybody with an interest in the First World War - so many men went to fight for Europe's freedom and yet so many of these men are virtually forgotten today. Let this film be a reminder that we should never forget...

Thank You for reading this review. I hope it helps.
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