The Bay Boy

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  • R
  • 1984
  • 1 hr 47 min
  • 6.3  (738)

The Bay Boy is a coming of age drama film directed by Daniel Petrie and released in 1984. The film features a stellar cast including Liv Ullmann, Kiefer Sutherland, and Peter Donat. Set in 1937, the film tells the story of young Donald Campbell (played by the talented young Kiefer Sutherland) who grows up in a small fishing village in Nova Scotia. Donald lives with his parents, grandparents, and siblings in a modest wooden house overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The landscape and the natural environment play an important role in the film, emphasizing the harshness and beauty of life in a remote and isolated community.

The Bay Boy explores themes of family, tradition, class, and social justice against the backdrop of a changing world. Donald's father, Harry, is a fisherman who struggles to make ends meet and provide for his family. His mother, Catherine, is a schoolteacher who believes in education as a path to a better life. Catherine encourages Donald to read books and learn about the wider world, but she also instills in him a deep respect for his roots and heritage.

As Donald grows up, he becomes aware of the class differences and injustice in his community. He befriends a wealthy and educated young woman, but their friendship is frowned upon by her family and his peers. He witnesses the exploitation of the fishermen by the fish merchants and the corrupt practices of the local politicians. He learns about the history of his people, including their struggle against the British colonizers and the French Acadians.

Liv Ullmann delivers a powerful performance as Nellie, Donald's grandmother, who embodies the resilience and dignity of the community. Nellie is a healer who uses traditional remedies and folklore to cure the villagers' ailments. She is also a storyteller who passes on the oral history of the family to the younger generations. Her relationship with Donald is a source of comfort and wisdom, and her death marks a turning point in his life.

Peter Donat plays Father Malone, the local priest who represents the moral authority and the conflicts of faith and reason. Father Malone debates with Catherine about the role of religion in education and the values of science and progress. He also struggles with his own doubts and sins, which lead to a tragic event in the film.

Kiefer Sutherland gives a remarkable performance as Donald, capturing the complexity and vulnerability of adolescence. Donald's journey is marked by loss, disappointment, and disillusionment, but also by growth, courage, and hope. The Bay Boy is a poignant and insightful film that transcends its time and place, exploring universal themes of identity, belonging, and justice.

The Bay Boy
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 47 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.3  (738)