Borstal Boy
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Brendan Behan's famous memoir about his troubled youth formed the basis of this drama. Brendan (Shawn Hatosy) is a 16-year-old boy from Ireland who loathes the British and is eager to do something about it. Brendan sails into Liverpool, but is discovered to be carrying the makings of a bomb; he's soon placed under arrest and thrown into a borstal (British reform school), where he finds himself surrounded by a collection of tough-as-nails English delinquents. While his political beliefs don't change, Brendan learns to become more tolerant of others as he makes friends with a few of… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 45%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Behan's emotional growth and confused self-examination are ably conveyed by Hatosy's spirited and well-nuanced performance."
‑ John Patterson, L.A. Weekly
"Well-made but mush-hearted."
‑ Misha Berson, Seattle Times
"Hatosy's Irish accent was way better than I expected."
‑ Luke Y. Thompson, New Times
"Hatosy establishes himself here not only as the bona fide star of this little ensemble film, but also as a talent to be watched."
‑ Joe Baltake, Sacramento Bee
""I blame all men for war," [the warden's daughter] tells her father. The movie is about as deep as that sentiment."
‑ Steve Rhodes, Internet Reviews
"Dripping with cliche and bypassing no opportunity to trivialize the material."
‑ Janice Page, Boston Globe
"A film that will probably please people already fascinated by Behan but leave everyone else yawning with admiration."
‑ Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
"A gentle and engrossing character study."
‑ Harry Guerin, RTE Interactive (Dublin, Ireland)
"The film is saved by its performances."
‑ Jim Lane, Sacramento News & Review
"A solid and refined piece of moviemaking imbued with passion and attitude."
‑ Frank Ochieng,
"Takes a clunky TV-movie approach to detailing a chapter in the life of the celebrated Irish playwright, poet and drinker."
‑ Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Serves as a powerful reminder that children have been willing to die for the hatred in which they've been schooled for a long time now."
‑ Connie Ogle, Miami Herald
"Sheridan had a wonderful account to work from, but, curiously, he waters it down, turning grit and vulnerability into light reading."
‑ Kim Morgan, Oregonian
"Borstal Boy represents the worst kind of filmmaking, the kind that pretends to be passionate and truthful but is really frustratingly timid and soggy."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"The film creates an effective sense of time and place, though Sheridan is not above hitting us over the head with obvious stylistic contrivances."
‑ Andy Klein, New Times
More reviews for Borstal Boy on Rotten Tomatoes