Hollow Reed

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Hollow Reed
Hollow Reed film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Angela Pope
Written by

Neville Bolt (story)

Paula Milne (writer)
Starring Sam Bould
Martin Donovan
Ian Hart
Joely Richardson
Jason Flemyng
David Calder
Music by Anne Dudley
Cinematography Remi Adefarasin
Edited by Sue Wyatt
Distributed by Channel Four Films
Release dates
  • 18 April 1997 (1997-04-18) (USA)
Running time
104 min (USA)
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $265,732[1]

Hollow Reed is a 1996 drama film directed by Angela Pope. The plot follows a divorced gay man who begins to suspect that his son is being physically abused by his ex-wife's new boyfriend. The story takes place in Bath, Somerset.


Oliver Wyatt (Sam Bould) lives with his mother Hannah Wyatt (Joely Richardson) and her live-in boyfriend Frank Donally (Jason Flemyng) and spends occasional afternoons with his father Martyn Wyatt (Martin Donovan). After Oliver suffers a series of mysterious physical injuries, which he vaguely blames on neighbourhood bullies, suspicions are raised by his father, a GP, against Hannah's boyfriend, Frank.

While Martyn becomes firmly convinced Frank is abusing his son, Oliver keeps silent about the true source of his injuries, and Hannah refuses to believe Frank could be abusing her son. Martyn begins court proceedings to gain sole custody of Oliver, though his gay relationship with Tom Dixon (Ian Hart) is brought as evidence by Hannah's lawyer of the unsuitability of Martyn's home. Only after she catches Frank abusing Oliver does Hannah accept that her boyfriend is the source of Oliver's injuries, though she is swayed by Frank's pleas and agrees to remain quiet about the issue and promises Oliver that the abuse will end.

In the climactic scene, Oliver attacks Frank and is saved from a terrible beating by his father, Martyn, who instead receives Frank's wrath. As Frank's savagery is witnessed not only by Hannah, Oliver, and Tom, but also by Hannah's neighbours (who in turn call the police), the film ends with Hannah visiting Oliver, who now resides with his father, and asking him if he'd like to return to her home on occasion, now that Frank no longer lives with her. (It is implied that Frank is now serving a prison sentence for abusing Oliver.) Her request is met with stony silence from Oliver.


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