"Song for a Raggy Boy" is based on the true story of a single teacher's courage to stand up against an untouchable prefect's sadistic disciplinary regime and other abuse in a Catholic Reformatory and Industrial School in 1939 Ireland.
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In 1939 William Franklin, an anti-Franco veteran of the bloody Spanish Civil War, arrives as first-ever lay teacher in a strict Catholic Reformatory and Industrial School for wayward boys. He soon learns the academic challenge is formidable, many boys being still illiterate, but gradually earns their trust, respect, in time almost devotion, with 'paternal' kindness, making the layman the opposite of the cruel prefect, brother John, who frequently administers painful and humiliating punishments, even the gentle, old superior Father Damian has no authority against his disciplinary mandate from the grim bishop Conlon. Slowly even class rebel Liam Mercier is turned around, trough his gift for literature. After Franklin dares stop the sadist's penny-weighted strap severely striking 'sinful scum' for a futility, the whole dorm is treated to an icy night outdoors, arms outstretched wearing only shorts. Brother Mac's mind may mean to educate well, his flesh is too weak for celibacy, so the ... Written by
Late last night I was watching Foxtel and I came across Song For A Raggy Boy. This movie shook me so hard that I could cry at the drop of a hat. I have no idea why this movie would rattle me more than most other movies I have seen recently - there are far more graphic and shocking movies than this. But the cruelty of the violence coupled with the students' passion and hope (as well as the inspiring school teacher) left me to turn off the TV and sit in complete darkness for what felt like hours, literally trembling.
Also, as a result, I shall forever look upon Ian Glen as The Sadist Headmaster Who Thrashed The Kids Senseless. He was almost TOO good in this role. Aidan Quinn, however, has proved himself once again to be a fine actor, worthy of much more acclaim than he has received. He's not an A-lister, by any means, but he has an art, an impeccably developed craft. He blew me away in Two Of Us and...well, if I wore a hat, i'd take it off to you.
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