My Boy Jack (film)

My Boy Jack (film)
My Boy Jack

My Boy Jack DVD Cover
Directed by Brian Kirk
Produced by Michael Casey
Written by David Haig (Based on his stage play)
Jim Thomas
John Thomas
Tom Stoppard
Michael Crichton (Screenplay)
Narrated by Hugh Jackman
Starring David Haig
Daniel Radcliffe
Kim Cattrall
Carey Mulligan
Julian Wadham
Music by Adrian Johnston
Cinematography David Odd, B.S.C.
Editing by Tim Murrell
Studio Mandalay Television
Distributed by ITV1 (UK)
TriStar Pictures (Worldwide)
Release date(s) 11 November 2007 (Remembrance Day)
Running time 93 minutes
Country UK
Language English

My Boy Jack is a 2007 television drama based on David Haig's 1997 play of the same name.[1] It was filmed in August 2007, with Haig as Rudyard Kipling and Daniel Radcliffe as John (Jack) Kipling.[2] It does not include act three of the play, which extended to the 1920s and 1930s. Instead it ends with Kipling reading the poem My Boy Jack. The American television premiere was 20 April 2008 on PBS, with primetime rebroadcast on 27 March 2011.[3] The film did well, attracting about 5.7 million viewers on its original broadcast in the UK on Remembrance Day, 11 November 2007.[4]



As The Great War (WWI) begins, 17 year old Jack Kipling (Radcliffe), the only son of the famous English writer and poet Rudyard Kipling, declares his intention to join the Royal Navy to fight against the Germans. The elder Kipling (Haig), who encourages him in his ambition, arranges several appointments for him to enlist in both the Army and Navy. However, Jack's poor eyesight prevents him from passing the medical examinations, and both he and his father are devastated. However, Rudyard uses his influence with the military establishment to eventually secure Jack an officer's commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Irish Guards regiment. Both Jack's mother Carrie (Cattrall), and sister Elsie (Mulligan), disapprove of this post, as they do not wish for him to be deployed on the front lines.

Jack, who proves to be a popular officer with his troops, undergoes military training and travels to France within six months. On his 18th birthday, Jack receives his mission orders to lead his platoon into action on the following morning. However, during this attack in the Battle of Loos Jack goes missing in action and the Kipling family is informed by military telegram that he is missing, presumed injured.

Over the next two years, Jack's parents track down surviving members from Jack's platoon and interview them. One of Jack's privates eventually confirms that Jack was killed in the Battle of Loos, shot by enemy gunfire, after losing his glasses in the mud during an assault on a German machine-gun post within the enemy lines.


Reviews of the film were generally positive. The aggregate Metacritic score was 78/100, with positive reviews from Entertainment Weekly, the Boston Globe, Variety Magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the New York Post, Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Chicago Tribune, and with more negative reviews from Philadelphia Daily News, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.[5] Several reviews took note of the Daniel Radcliffe's starring role as Jack.[6][7][8][9] Both Radcliffe and Haig were generally well-received,[10] though Kim Cattrall received mixed reviews for her performance as Jack's mother.[3][9][11][12]


  1. ^ "Period Drama / About the drama - ITV Drama:". ITV. 31 October 2007. Retrieved 2009-08-23. 
  2. ^ "Masterpiece". PBS. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Bellafante, Ginia (April 18, 2008). "A Different Kind of Kipling Adventure q". The New York Times: p. E1. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  4. ^ Tryhorn, Chris (12 November 2007). "ITV war drama recruits 5.7m viewers". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  5. ^ "My Boy Jack reviews at". Metacritic. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  6. ^ "TV War Role for Potter Star". London Evening Standard (London, England). 29 August 2006. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  7. ^ Lowry, Brian (11 April 2008). "My Boy Jack Review". Variety. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  8. ^ Buckman, Adam (17 April 2008). "Harry Goes to War". New York Post. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  9. ^ a b Wiegand, David (19 April 2008). "Son goes to war in 'My Boy Jack'". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  10. ^ Flynn, Gillian (11 April 2008). "My Boy Jack". Entertainment Weekly.,,20191035,00.html. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 
  11. ^ Vittes, Laurence (18 April 2008). "My Boy Jack". Hollywood Reporter.!-1776076722&&rid=10975. Retrieved 23 August 2009. [dead link]
  12. ^ Ryan, Maureen (17 April 2008). "Thoughts on the British Empire, both tragic and comic". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 23 August 2009. 

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