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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 13.7%
Average: 16.44%
Pretty Bad: 2.74%
Total Crap: 1.37%

2 reviews, 61 user ratings

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Song for a Raggy Boy
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by EricDSnider

"Talk about your dangerous lives of altar boys!"
3 stars

(SCREENED AT THE 2003 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL) - “Song for a Raggy Boy” is a gray, overcast film about nefarious goings-on at a Catholic reform school in Ireland, circa 1939. It is a sort of “Dead Poets Society” for wayward boys, but not nearly as rewarding.

Aidan Quinn plays William Franklin, a broken man who fought on the side of the communists in the Spanish Civil War who now finds himself teaching at St. Jude’s. He lost his girlfriend and his best friend in the war, as well as much of whatever faith he had.

Now he is teaching delinquent boys, most around the age of 13, most of whom can’t read or write. Unsurprisingly, he has a drastic effect on them, and by the film’s end, they are quoting literature and poetry to him in a manner that is meant to be highly inspiring.

His opponent in all this is the evil Brother John (Iain Glen), the school’s disciplinarian, who believes these troublemakers can never change and shouldn’t even be treated like human beings. He likes to beat up on them. Another priest has even more troublesome intentions.

My goodness, but it’s all very dreary! Franklin’s crisis of faith is weak and obligatory, and Quinn’s idea of being “haunted” seems to consist of always looking like he didn’t get enough sleep. His interaction with the boys makes for some honest, avuncular scenes -- newcomers John Travers and Chris Newman are sympathetic as the two most troubled, most doomed boys -- but it in no way approaches the level of impact the filmmakers obviously hoped for.

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originally posted: 01/29/03 08:44:48
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Seattle Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/08/07 Skykid Great film. 5 stars
11/21/06 Jobe Nakcharoen Fantastic film! 5 stars
10/22/06 Theo Kirby What a powerfull film , Brilliant Child actors too 5 stars
10/17/06 Sanger R Overall good, especially Chris Newman; also impressed by the kid who played Gerard Peters 4 stars
8/22/06 Sophia Sanderson I think this film is awesome!! makes me feel really sad 5 stars
5/30/06 Terrific movie, and awful to think it was all true!! The Cath.Church has a lot to answer! 5 stars
7/30/05 karen jovana exelente pelicula 5 stars
6/05/05 seaside a jewel about a real cruel event 5 stars
12/07/04 Patrick Duncan 1 of the best-told and most heartfelt explorations on film ever of a tough subject. 5 stars
11/17/04 sunil arora i m ntersted in that type of movei 4 stars
11/11/04 tashyprincess fantastic film but very sad cos it really happened 5 stars
11/09/04 aleric sad, but true 2 stars
9/11/04 Atro Up Qu for boy-lovers: would you rather be the priest, or the teacher? Touch the boy, or TOUCH 4 stars
9/04/04 Gerard Carson Absoultley Brilliant , Amazing- and also a very good friend of John Travers 5 stars
8/19/04 Lisamarie Chris Newman wat can i say what a gr8 ass :p Chris babeeee well dun luv ur msn admirer ! 5 stars
8/03/04 grace very good 4 stars
7/30/04 JJ Bradis Really awesome movei! 5 stars
7/28/04 Mr. D Duck That boy is so sexy. He just melts my butter.....and that ass, dont get me started. 5 stars
7/28/04 Kelly T OMG,i loved this movie!!!i cried,and yes chris newman is soooo hot!! 5 stars
7/28/04 Mr. M. Mouse I LOVE CHRIS. CHRIS I LOVE YOU. CALL ME 086 4521783 XxX oh baby..... 5 stars
7/25/04 rebecca i think john travers is soo sexy!!! especially in real life!best movie ive saw!! 5 stars
6/10/04 rph excellent 5 stars
5/19/04 Marte Patrick Delaney, Chris Newman was brilliant in this movie, and my heart cried for him! 5 stars
4/19/04 Niamh Lynch Great film and OMG Chris Newman is incredibly hot 5 stars
4/14/04 Andrew Simpson (im Peters in the film) Brilliant :-) 5 stars
4/14/04 mm very moving 5 stars
4/14/04 Patrick Duncan Men have cried watching this film 5 stars
3/24/04 Frankie Newman Mr. Newman gave a realistic performance!! Along with the other actos.. go check this out ! 5 stars
3/22/04 Azz Chris Newman is amazing,I blame the parents 5 stars
3/08/04 Barry Newman If Chris Newman grows up half as good lookin as his big brother he'll be lucky 5 stars
3/02/04 charlotte i think this film is brill and liam is lush!! 5 stars
2/28/04 rebecca doherty absolutely brilliant.patrick delaney is brilliant 5 stars
2/26/04 rebecca doherty absolutely fantastic acting especially from young christopher newman 5 stars
2/26/04 Fiona Travers loved the film it was fabulous 5 stars
1/30/04 Patrick Duncan Incredible acting and tight direction make this high risk emotional film succeed totally. 5 stars
12/28/03 Brian O Hagan Dark and gloomy setting reflects the boys true horror 5 stars
12/08/03 woookash great film, great performance... 5 stars
11/19/03 TOM Very disturbing/Great acting. 4 stars
11/15/03 Tricia Flynn the extra is this movie were awesome, especially brother no. 4 5 stars
11/10/03 Charlotte Knight Tragic especially when liam died......i cried 5 stars
11/08/03 anne great performances (esp. young actors). 5 stars
11/01/03 matthias cliché too black and white, awful ending 1 stars
10/30/03 Sebastijan Best Film I've ever seen! 5 stars
10/27/03 Kimberly Stumpf A very moving and powerful performance. 5 stars
10/24/03 leo archer excellent 4 stars
10/23/03 paudie kelleher excellent performances from Aidan Quinn and Ian Glen 5 stars
10/23/03 yvonne execellent performance from quinn 4 stars
10/22/03 Daniel Amazing yet disturbing, best Irish acting in a while 5 stars
10/19/03 Mat great! 5 stars
10/08/03 Deborah Mc Laughlin Amazing, the child actors were superb! 5 stars
9/03/03 Angie Heart A deeply disturbing that is made all the more powerful because of its factual basis. 4 stars
7/26/03 treasa o riordan very depressing but it had to be very well john travers and chris newman act well ! 4 stars
7/12/03 VG Cliche, sentimental, balck and white dumbness. 2 stars
6/13/03 Patrick Duncan The film is outstanding, and (rarely known for any film) at this one men will cry. 5 stars
6/05/03 Joe Whalen Excellent film, although very disturbing - saw at SIFF 5 stars
3/19/03 Mary Very Powerful film - showing balanced view of that era. Well written. 5 stars
3/17/03 eliza doolittle extremley moving 4 stars
3/05/03 Bob Binski Fantastic 5 stars
2/27/03 Vera Buttimer Aidan Quinn is a superb actor, I was an extra in the film and I think it is going to be bri 5 stars
2/01/03 Mike Lyons Wonderful! Emotional and evocative. 5 stars
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