My Boy Jack

My Boy Jack is the moving true story of John ‘Jack’ Kipling, son of world-famous author Rudyard Kipling. Zealous war supporter Rudyard is eager to see his son go to war and play his part in protecting King and country. Jack is equally keen, and is devasted to be turned away from the Navy and the Army due to his appalling eyesight.

Incensed, his father uses his fame and influence to secure Jack a commission with the Irish Guards and after gruelling training, he is sent to France in charge of a Battalion. Jack is determined to let nothing stand in the way of him fighting, and already had his father write a letter giving him permission to be sent ‘over the top’ before his eighteenth birthday. However, fate dictates that Jack and his men go to fight the day after his birthday – horrendously outnumbered by German soldiers.

Sadly, Jack’s family receive a telegram to say he has gone missing in battle, presumed wounded. Devastated, but never giving up hope, Jack’s parents search for him, using all of Rudyard’s military contacts, and interviewing returning soldiers. They slowly begin together pieces of the puzzle, and eventually a soldier from Jack’s Battalion visits them. Unfortunately, he brings the news that Jack was in fact killed in battle. At eighteen years and one day old, John Kipling lost his life to German soldiers.

The family is thrown into turmoil, and Rudyard now has to question whether his support for the war was worth the life of his only son. Unfortunately it is too late, and the family must learn to cope without Jack.

Many people have questionned Daniel Radcliffe’s acting abilities, but I think My Boy Jack will put those wagging tongues to rest. Radcliffe is very convincing in this TV drama, particularly as he is around the same age as the real Jack was when he lost his life. It’s great to see him in a completely different role to Harry Potter – and lets hope this will help him avoid being pigeonholed.

Those playing members of Jack’s family were also fantastic. David Haig and Kim Cattrall play his grieving parents excellently, and relative newcomer Carey Mulligan does a fine job of playing Jack’s sister, Elsie. Overall I felt they were a very believable family, and their reactions during Jack’s absence, and on receiving confirmation of his death brought a tear to my eye. Overall, this is a really moving production, and I think even those not really into wartime dramas will enjoy this.

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