In 1914, Rudyard Kipling (David Haig, Four Wedings and a Funeral) is at the peak of his literary fame and is the British Empire's greatest supporter. With World War I fast approaching, Kipling's son, Jack (Radcliffe), is determined to serve his country but finds himself rejected due to his extremely poor eyesight. When his father uses his influence to land Jack a commission in the Irish Guards, Kiplings wife, Caroline (Cattrall), is bitterly upset, failing to see the glory in losing her only son to the war. In this searing drama, we witness Kipling's dire struggle between his two greatest passions: love for family and devotion to King and Country.. In 1914 England, patriotism is high in the early days of WWI, and writer Rudyard Kipling (David Haig, Four Weddings and a Funeral) is one of its most eloquent and passionate voices. John "Jack," (Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter films), Kipling's only son, is underage, hopelessly myopic, and eager to join the war effort. Kipling's outspoken American wife Carrie (Kim Cattrall, Sex and the City) remains more sanguine on the course of the war, and the fate of her family. My Boy Jack, based on a true story, tells of a nation at war, and offers an intimate portrait of one family's complex and divided experience in it.. Synopsis
It's 1915, and Great Britain is at war. Aged only 17, writer Rudyard Kipling's son John "Jack," like most of his generation, is swept up in the enthusiasm to fight the Germans; a sentiment stoked vigorously by his father. However, Jack is cripplingly short sighted and the Army has rejected him twice, rendering him too myopic even for an Army suffering thousands of casualties a week and desperate for recruits. Yet Rudyard is determined that his son should go to the frontlines, like countless other sons, and fight for the values that he, Rudyard, espouses so publicly.
Using his fame and influence, Rudyard persuades Lord Roberts on his deathbed to get Jack a commission in the Irish guards. This intervention is barely tolerated by Rudyard's American wife Carrie and daughter Elise, as they disagree Jack should fight, and fear for his safety on the front line.
Jack is instantly popular with his troop he is a great leader and trains tirelessly to overcome the disability that is his eyesight. Six months later, Jack sails to France as a lieutenant. In his pocket is a spare pair of spectacles and written permission from his father to travel to the frontlines before his eighteenth birthday. On the day of his eighteenth birthday, Jack is told they will be deployed the following day. Days later, the Kipling family are informed that Jack is "missing believed wounded," news which devastates them and leaves Elise furious at her father for his part in Jack's fate.
Desperately clinging to the hope that their son is still alive, Carrie and Rudyard scour hospitals and obsessively track down and interview survivors. Two years later, Jack's friend and fellow Irish Guard Private Bowe arrives at Bateman's, the Kiplings' home in Sussex. Suffering from shell shock, he finally describes to the assembled family what had happened in the Battle of Loos. The searching and the hoping were over.
In September 1915, Jack Kipling was killed in action. He died in the pouring rain, unable to see a thing. He had been in France for three weeks. Jack remained on the list of soldiers "missing believed wounded" for two years. The effect on Rudyard and Carrie was incalculable.. David Haig ... Rudyard Kipling
Daniel Radcliffe ... John Kipling
Kim Cattrall ... Caroline Kipling
Carey Mulligan ... Elsie Kipling
Julian Wadham ... King George V
Martin McCann ... Bowe
Richard Dormer ... Corporal John O'Leary
Rúaidhrí Conroy ... McHugh
Laurence Kinlan ... Doyle
Ciaran Nolan ... Daly
Nick Dunning ... Colonel Ferguson
Michael McElhatton ... Leo Amery MP
Peter Gowen ... H.A Gwynne
Brian de Salvo ... Field Marshal 'Bobs' Roberts
Simon Coury ... Naval Doctor