Hollow Reed


Martin Donovan, Joely Richardson, Jason Flemyng & Ian Hart



The drama begins with young Oliver arriving at his father's doorstep after an alleged attack by local youths. His father, Martyn, begins an extraordinary investigation to pursue and bring to justice the perpetrators. His estranged wife, Hannah, is deeply concerned by her son's plight but Martin's endeavours appear thwarted by both her and her new boyfriend, Frank.

As the attacks continue, Martyn begins to realise the awful truth and is more determined to protect his child, even if it exposes hidden truths about himself.


This is a powerful and moving story about a gay man's fight to prove that he is as competent and trustworthy a parent as any straight man. Martyn and his boyfriend, Tom, live together, in a monogamous relationship. Martyn feels that when his son, Oliver is clearly troubled by something he won't talk about, that he has the right to interfere, just like any heterosexual father would. Oliver is being abused by his mother's new boyfriend, Frank, and when Martyn finds out, he sets about trying to get custody of his son, to prevent further beatings. Taken to court, and questioned in detail about his sexuality (rather than any competency as a father) he loses the case, and his son returns home to his abuser.

The sheer frustration of this movie, is knowing that this happens in real life all the time. Somehow, society sees that the child is 'better off' with an abusive straight man, than with two loving gay men. I so badly wanted someone to give the child's mother a severe slap, when she took back the man she *knew* was abusing her son, purely because she 'didn't want to be alone'.

Thankfully, the movie ends fairly happily, but I couldn't help but think that this was the only 'fantasy' part of the entire plot. How man times in RL does it *not* end happily?

Obviously, a thought provoking movie, well crafted and nicely acted.