AS SEEN IN:
"My Boy Jack"
AS PLAYED BY:
"My Boy Jack" is based on a stage play by David Haig, who also played Rudyard Kipling in the film.
Here's the official summary of "My Boy Jack":
It’s 1915 and World War 1 has been declared. Aged only 17, Kipling’s son John, like most of his generation, is swept up in the enthusiasm to fight the Germans, a mood stoked vigorously by his father. "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 undeterred, determined that his son should go to the front, like countless other sons, and fight for the values that he, Kipling, espouses so publicly.
Using his fame and influence, Kipling persuades Lord Roberts, on his death bed, to get Jack a commission in the Irish guards. This intervention is barely tolerated by his wife Carrie (Kim Cattrall) and daughter Elise (Carey Mulligan), as they disagree that Jack is fit to 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.
Jack went missing in action during the Battle of Loos and his mother and father carried out an increasingly desperate search for him, spanning many years and many miles.
His body was never found; neither were those of several of his fellow officers. Twenty-seven soldiers under their command were also killed.
Rudyard Kipling later wrote a haunting elegy to his son, and to the legions of sons lost in the First World War:
That flesh we had nursed from the first in all cleanness was given…
To be blanched or gay-painted by fumes – to be cindered by fires –
To be senselessly tossed and retossed in stale mutilation
From crater to crater. For this we shall take expiation.
But who shall return us our children?