"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
A great film made brilliant by the sheer power of acting
A great film made brilliant by the sheer power of acting. I have never experienced anything quite like it. We have here a film, a story, so convincingly told that something inside me wishes it were not true and that the abuse of authority that this film exposes does not still exist in the political and religious leaders of toady. The story is that of Franklin, a teacher in an Irish reformatory school who takes up the cause of the ill treated and neglected children being brutalised by Brother John, a rising star in the catholic church hierarchy, with the tacit approval of the other brothers, each labouring over their own guilty secrets. Of course the story is a harrowing one, and does not spare the viewers feelings, at times I wondered why I was putting myself through this gruelling history lesson, but than I knew, that guiding me through the film, like a guardian angel, is the consumate acting of absoutly all the cast. I knew they would see me through. Aidan Quinn and Iain Glen are magnificently convincing both giving the best perfprmances of their careers to date. The young boys are all wonderful in their roles. Their acting is pure realism, such mature performances from young teenagers are a glowing tribute to the directing of Aisling Walsh
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