"The Butcher Boy" Is Released
The book was adapted into a feature film directed by Neil Jordan in 1997.
It starred Eamonn Owens as Francie, Stephen Rea as Benny and Fiona Shaw as Mrs. Nugent. The film was released on DVD on February 13, 2007.
The film won the Silver Berlin Bear award for Best Director at the Berlin Film Festival in 1998 and a Special Mention for Owens' "astonishing lead". It also won the European Film Award for Best Cinematographer for Adrian Biddle.
The adaptation is mostly faithful to the novel, but there are some differences, the principal change being the ending. In the book, Francie is not seen to leave prison, and attempts to forge a friendship with an inmate similar to the one he had with Joe. In the film, a much older Francie is released from prison at the end to be brought to a halfway house. He picks a snowdrop, echoing the opening of the film.
This was the final film produced by Geffen Pictures, which distributed its films through Warner Bros. Pictures. Geffen Pictures would be sold to Universal Studios years later.
Neil Jordan directed this adaptation of Patrick McCabe's novel about a boy's struggles with violence and mental illness. Francie Brady (Eamonn Owens) is a young boy growing up in Dublin in the early 1960s, where his life is dominated by his active imagination and his best friend Joe (Alan Boyle). But beneath this benign surface lurks a troubled soul; his father (Stephen Rea) is an embittered alcoholic, his mother (Aisling O'Sullivan) is emotionally unstable and periodically ends up in the local mental hospital (or as she calls it, "the garage," because it's where they take you when you break down), and their next-door neighbor, Mrs. Nugent (Fiona Shaw) often rants that the Bradys are "pigs" not fit to live with. For all their troubles, Francie fiercely loves his parents, and he can't abide Mrs. Nugent's insults. But his playful childhood pranks begin to advance into more destructive and menacing behavior, which leads him to his own stay in "the garage." Branded a lunatic by the community and shorn of his only close friendship when Joe takes up with Mrs. Nugent's son, Francie soon reaches the point of collapse. With nowhere to go, Francie takes an especially awful job as a butcher's assistant, and his overactive imagination goes into overdrive, flooding his mind with images of alien takeover, atomic apocalypse, and the Virgin Mary (Sinead O'Connor) that lead him further down the path toward shocking acts of violence. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide