Character: Young Mary
Original Release: August 21, 1992 (US)
Directed by: Stephen Gyllenhaal
Written by: Graham Swift, Peter Prince
Produced by: Patrick Cassavetti, Katy McGuinness
Running Time: 95 minutes
Box Office: $1,034,287 (US)

The film follows the story of an anguished English-born Pittsburgh high school teacher in 1974 going through a reassessment of his life. His method is to narrate his life to his class and interweave three generations of his family's history. The film portrays the history teacher's narrative in the form of flashbacks to tell the story of a teenage boy and his mentally challenged older brother living in The Fens of England with their widowed father. In an opening scene the teacher's childless wife takes a child from a supermarket and believes it to be hers. The teacher explains to his class how he and his wife had a teenage romance which led to a disastrous abortion that left her infertile. The teacher is tortured by the guilt of this as well as the jealousy he demonstrated to his older brother when he suspected his girlfriend's child was his brother's. The girl's flirtation with the older brother sets off events that lead to the older boy's death by drowning. A side-theme is the teacher's grandfather, who was a successful brewer and who fathered with his daughter the narrator's older brother. The film ends with the teacher's dismissal from his school and a possible renewal of his relationship with his wife.

Cast & Characters

Jeremy Irons (Tom Crick), Sinéad Cusack (Mary Crick), Grant Warnock (Young Tom), Callum Dixon (Freddie Parr), Sean Maguire (Peter), Ross McCall (Terry), Camilla Hebditch (Shirley), David Morrissey (Dick Crick), John Heard (Lewis Scott), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Maggie Ruth), Ethan Hawke (Matthew Price)

Photo Gallery
Filming Dates: September 16, 1991 - November 9, 1991
Filming Locations:
  • East Anglia, England, UK
  • London, England, UK
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
  • Twickenham Film Studios, St Margarets, Twickenham, Middlesex, England, UK
  • Miranda Richardson was originally intended for the role of Mary.
  • This was Lena Headey's first movie role but it was actually released after her second movie Clothes in the Wardrobe (1992).
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal did her screen debut in this movie too.
  • Lena Headey starred in the mini series The Purge (2013) together with Ethan Hawke as well.

Quotes from Cast & Crew

"It was beyond exciting. They were giving me money to spend, I was an actress in a movie - could life be any better?"
- Lena Headey, on getting the part