British Gala / World premiere

A Boy Called Dad

  • Brian Percival /
  • UK /
  • 2009 /
  • 80 mins

Ian Hart, Kyle Ward, Joel Robinson, Charlene McKenna, Louise Delamere, Steve Evets / Fiction / English

A bittersweet coming of age tale.

After their remarkable BAFTA award-winning short About a Girl (Best British Short Film, EIFF 2001) and successful careers working in television, director Brian Percival and writer Julie Rutterford’s latest feature is a sympathetic study of a young boy’s unexpected and accelerated ascent into adulthood. With a visual style reminiscent of the work of renowned British photographer Martin Parr, and images of decaying British beach fronts and rundown seaside cafés, this charming feature exudes warmth, sympathy and humour in equal measure. Young newcomer Kyle Ward displays a natural talent way beyond his years in the central role of intelligent but rebellious teenager Robbie, whose life spirals violently out of control when he becomes a parent at the tender age of 14. Feeling angry and alone, he sets out to build a relationship with his own father, who – having abandoned Robbie’s mother many years previously – is virtually a stranger to the boy. Ward transcribes the confusion and loneliness of a thoughtful 14-year-old boy finding himself catapulted, at great speed, into the strange and frightening world of adults. In one uplifting and charming scene, possibly symbolising this headlong rush from childhood into adulthood, Robbie is memorably involved in a furious chase with a man dressed as a giant, angry ice cream cone, such humour bringing a brief but welcome respite from the gravity of his precarious situation. Other scenes with Robbie’s father, played to perfection by Ian Hart (Land and Freedom, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), are by turns playful and poignant, and not without a subtle and dark sense of humour. Their growing rapport eventually becomes the central premise of the film and as their fragile relationship develops, they each begin to understand the responsibilities and anxieties that come with being a father. A Boy Called Dad is the first feature film from UK production company Made Up North Productions, which was set up by in 2004 to support and encourage new filmmaking talent in the North of England.

2009 Archive

Image from A Boy Called Dad

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  • #1 M Kelly / Saturday 20 June, 2009 / 14:42 GMT

    Really very good. Felt genuine and sincere with lots of humour without Scouser overkill. Definitely worth seeing.
  • #2 Barbara Christie / Sunday 21 June, 2009 / 14:16 GMT

    Mini-adult Kyle Ward, adult-child Ian Hart and future Oscar-winner - baby (or babies)!
  • #3 Paul Laird / Sunday 28 June, 2009 / 18:27 GMT

    For the first 20 minutes this film promises much and delivers a little.

    As soon as that initial period is over though it descends into farce...kidnapping, mute abuse victims hiding babies in exchange for sex, suicide and a dozen other really ridiculous moments.

    Kyle Ward was excellent, Ian Hart is never anything but...both were let down by a, frankly, silly and sentimental tale that made little sense.

    A shame.
  • #4 Leona Campbell / Sunday 28 June, 2009 / 21:38 GMT

    Despite the storylines within this film not making complete sense and often verging on silly. I really enjoyed the movie. Ian Hart gives a really brilliant performance and Kyle Ward is also amazing and it's worth watching for those performances alone.

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