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Hollow Reed (1996)

Following the break-up of his marriage after revealing his homosexuality, GP Martin Wyatt loses custody of his son Oliver to his now ex-wife Hannah and her new partner Frank. It is not long... See full summary »




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Bould ...
Oliver Wyatt
Martyn Wyatt
Tom Dixon
Hannah Wyatt
Frank Donally
Shaheen Khan ...
Dr. Razmu
Jamie's Mother
Tim Crouch ...
Site Foreman
Jane Hill ...
Record Shop Girl
Glen Hammond ...
Unemployed Youth
Mr. Bugler
School Nurse
Dr. Ian Slater
Martin's Lawyer
Maeve Murphy ...
Sgt. Curtis


Following the break-up of his marriage after revealing his homosexuality, GP Martin Wyatt loses custody of his son Oliver to his now ex-wife Hannah and her new partner Frank. It is not long, however, until Oliver appears at the house of Martin and his new lover Tom claiming to have been beaten up by boys in the park. After another incident, Martin puts two and two together and comes to the conclusion that Frank has been beating Oliver without Hannah's knowledge. Martin then begins a long courtroom custody battle to win back his son. Written by Jonathan Broxton <j.w.broxton@sheffield.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Another secret from the producers of The Crying Game. See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence including child abuse, a strong sex scene and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| | |


Release Date:

18 April 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Believe Me  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Gross USA:

$62,818, 4 May 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


A crew member can be seen in a mirror in the hallway when Dr. Wyatt goes through the hall, and up the stairs in Ollie's school and the other school boys are coming down the stairs. When the crew member turns his head toward the camera position, you can see he's wearing headphones. See more »


References Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977) See more »


I Shall Be Released
Written and Performed by Bob Dylan
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User Reviews

Emotionally charged drama with strong performances
20 February 2006 | by See all my reviews

The subject of child abuse is not a pleasant one and often the made-for-TV dramas dealing with this subject present a one-dimensional view. But this movie gets very deeply into the complex dynamics of a such a case. The story revolves around ten-year-old Oliver (Sam Bould) who lives with his divorced mother Hannah (Joely Richardson) and her boyfriend Frank (Jason Flemyng). The boy loves his mother as well as his father Martyn (Martin Donoval) who precipitated the divorce in order to live with his male partner Tom (Ian Hart).

The movie starts with Oliver having run to his father's house with a bloodied face. Oliver passes it off as his having been in a fight. Martyn is a medical doctor and takes Oliver to the hospital and finds out that his physical wounds in this instance are not threatening. But sometime later when Oliver shows up with broken bones in his wrist, that he tries to blame on having been caused by slamming a car door on it, Martyn checks it out and determines that the injury is not consistent with Oliver's story and he initiates court proceedings to get custody of the child. Frank and Hannah are very much in love and Hannah cannot believe that Frank is to blame for Oliver's injuries and she feels that Martyn is just trying a power play to get custody of Oliver and irritate her.

This is a pretty straightforward setup, but it is here where the movie becomes very involving. We come to understand why Oliver tries to hide the truth and stay with his mother, even though he wants to be with his father. We get enough insight into Frank to understand why he behaves as he does and, even though we cannot forgive his actions, we see that he is not a total monster and we can even have some sympathy for him.

And then there is the whole issue of whether homosexual men should be allowed to have custody of a child, and that is explored in some depth. Martyn and Tom have the most natural homosexual relationship that I have seen in film, but the relationship is not idealized. There are visits by social workers and a court hearing that is viciously brutal, especially the questioning of Martyn about intimate details of his relationship with Tom.

One reason that this story is so affecting is the superb acting by all concerned, particularly by the young Bould. He is totally believable in conveying the traumas he experiences and you suffer with him.

The saddest thing about the situation these people find themselves in is that none of them is really a bad person, but they are drawn into circumstances that are psychologically damaging to all of them, particularly the boy.

This movie successfully treats many themes: child abuse, the far-reaching and long-term effects of divorce, sexual discrimination, society's duty to children, and the suitability of gays as parents.

At the end there is no nice neat resolution in this honest and realistic film.

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