"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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Joe, an overwrought rancher is striving from his harsh upbringing, trying make a better life for his family. When his business falter, Joe fears his son at the age of 15 will follow in his footsteps, and decides to drive him from home.
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 very powerful, moving film that sees the humanity in all of us.
Saw this at Tribeca Film Festival and was genuinely moved by the power and passion of the story, the acting and above all the directing. The filmmakers took care to show each person as a combination of good and bad.The casting of the kids was outright fabulous. Aidan Quinn was born to play this part and brings to his acting a deepfelt conviction of righting certain wrongs with tremendous power and feeling.
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