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Speak Like a Child (1998)

A married couple meets up with an old friend. It is revealed that the three had become close friends at a home for children. Flashbacks develops their relationship and their sharing of ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Billy, Age 30
Richard Mylan ...
Sammy, Age 30
Ruby, Age 30
Daniel Newman ...
Billy, Age 14
Sammy, Age 14
Alison Mac ...
Ruby, Age 14
Carla Henry ...
Gavin Green ...
Emma Armitage ...
Tim Bird ...
Dawn Fletcher ...
Adam Moran ...
Freddy Banes
Bobby Banes
Adam Pearson ...
Bobby Banes
Tracy Emmerton ...


A married couple meets up with an old friend. It is revealed that the three had become close friends at a home for children. Flashbacks develops their relationship and their sharing of everything. It is revealed that the single man wants the couple to move in with him. The woman, who is pregnant, reveals she is ready to dump her husband and begin a relationship with the other man. But all are bothered by some distant past secret. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

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Release Date:

5 September 1998 (Italy)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

Bleak drama yields minor rewards
20 March 2000 | by See all my reviews


Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Sound format: Dolby Stereo

Three old friends - two men and a woman - return to an abandoned orphanage on the Northumbrian coastline where, as children, they fell in love with each other and committed an act of brutal violence.

Grim drama from the British Film Institute, in which three disparate characters are drawn together by their mutual loneliness. The adults (played by Cal Macaninch, Rachel Fielding and Richard Mylan) are a charmless lot, but their younger counterparts - Daniel Newman as the group's unofficial leader, Fraser Ayres as the despondent newcomer seduced by Newman's boyish charm, and Alison Mac as the girl who unites them - are wholly engaging. Wayward Geordie accents aside, the actors cultivate a vivid impression of young adults on the cusp of maturity, exploring a capacity for love and affection denied them by the uncaring adults responsible for their welfare. The movie focuses most of its attention on the relationship between Newman and Ayres - they bunk off school together, protect each other from the orphanage's resident bully (Gavin Green), and Newman teaches the illiterate Ayres how to read - though it's Mac who brings their sexual desires into clear focus. The landscape is bleak and beautiful, comprising long empty beaches and desolate woodlands, loaning the film a mood of despair which portends a climactic tragedy. Not for all tastes, but quietly rewarding for those prepared to stay the distance. Directed by John Akomfrah (SEVEN SONGS FOR MALCOLM X).

For gay viewers in particular, lead actor Newman is pretty much irresistible: Attractive and talented, he began his career as a child actor in various UK-lensed Hollywood blockbusters (ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES, BRAM STOKER'S Dracula, etc.) before gravitating toward meatier roles in homegrown adult dramas such as 15: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PHILIP KNIGHT (1993) and JUNK (1999), the latter based on Melvin Burgess' uncompromising children's book which describes the romance between two teenagers who descend into drug addiction. Newman followed his role as the disaffected, bisexual antihero of SPEAK LIKE A CHILD with his career-defining portrait of a handsome East End rent boy in ENDGAME (2001), a controversial drama which takes full account of his elfin beauty by displaying him in various states of undress throughout. Sadly, Newman has been relegated to the sidelines in recent years, playing little more than bit parts in various television dramas ("Judge John Deed", "Doctors", etc.).

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