Secret Child – Short Film Review

Based on a book of the same name, Secret Child dives into the true story of single mothers and their children in Dublin during the 1950s. We are introduced to Gordon (played by Austin Taylor), a young boy who lives in a secretive Catholic hostel with his mother, waiting for the moment he’ll meet his father.

This film had a sad air about it, but the second half of the story didn’t leave me feeling low and without hope for the people involved. Instead, I felt knowing that no matter how low they felt in society, there was always a light at the end of the tunnel. The colour palette for this film transported us back in time, with creams and sage greens, linking this with the shadows and darkness of the hostel, we could see just how these people felt by the places they were. Gordon, the young child in the film, appeared just as any boy in tales of the past does. His jumper was dirty, he fought with his friends, he didn’t want to get into trouble even though he always did. He was mostly happy but knew the situation him and his mother were in was not fantastic. 

Now onto his parents. Fiona Glascott, who played the mother, really did a lovely job in summing up the feelings of a single parent during the time it was set. It must’ve been so scary and lonely, but she also had hope about her. Even if she was worried about possible futures that her and her son may have together, that’s the thing that always kept her going, her son. I loved that we could see worry and confusion in her facial expressions, really helping us see her story even within a short time frame. Aaron McCusker plays the father, who is painted to us as a possible bad guy, even though he has written letters of love and is treating the family to tea. I think after seeing him in Bohemian Rhapsody, as the role of Jim Hutton, he came across as someone simple, yet still not everything on display. I felt the same with this character, that he was a good man, but there is always the underlying fear that someone won’t be who they say they are.

Directed by Yew Weng Ho, you can see how a sad story wanted to be told, but with patience and positivity, we see this beautiful film. I think it’s so interesting to see things on my screen based on true events, so it’s lovely that someone’s book has been able to be brought to life in a sweet yet truthful way. For me, to see that the author helped write the film, really does make me know how careful this story was dealt with, leaving me with more joy for the story and respect for the truth behind it than just the film itself.

I think the most important thing I’ve taken from this film is the fact that Gordon will always be loved. Whether it’s his mother telling him directly, or the way he is treated by the people who care for him, just because of his current home, it doesn’t mean that he deserves less than anyone else. We shouldn’t worry about where we are on our journeys, even if the road ahead still doesn’t seem quite right, as long as we remember that people are there for us and will always love us.

Learn more about the film

Follow Anna on Instagram


  1. I have read this book & loved it from start to finish. It is definitely a story where you see light at the end of the tunnel -very touching.

    1. Hi Anna / PRIVATE email for you only

      I just saw your wonderful review for my film, Secret Child.
      What a beautiful detail review she did, I was very impressed, thank you.

      The reason for the short film was to do with me writing a follow-up book with the success of book sales.

      I made the film expecting the book one day to become a television series. The film did very well international film festivals. See below the awards.

      Last week I finished Secret to Sultan and what becomes of the boy.

      Now I have to decide which direction I must go with the publishing world changing all the time

      See a synopsis for the new book below.

      I also produced a new film, Mical with Yew Weng Ho director, his second film.
      The subject is about dyslexia. It is a true story about a boy and his Incredible mother who devised a method of teaching children with dyslexia.

      The film will be given free to every school in the UK later this year, and hoping one day to have a dyslexia school teacher in ever school by law.

      Best regards

      Synopsis for Secret to Sultan book.

      From pop promos to gay pride. I’ve seen, lived it, survived it!

      How could a young man with no connections find himself at the forefront of the music video scene? How did a man with no experience of bars and clubs end up turning Soho into the gay capital of Europe? How did a boy from the backstreets of Dublin end up being crowned the unofficial Sultan of Soho?

      To discover how, you need to turn the clock back sixty years to Dublin in the 1950s. People who say ‘the luck of the Irish,’ clearly hadn’t heard about my upbringing. I was brought up in a Secret community of a hundred unmarried women and their children. We were what’s known as The Unfortunates. Frowned upon, looked down upon. Outcasts.

      I was probably the sort of kid people would look at and say – ‘nothing good will come of him.’ But my mother was a strong, caring, resourceful woman. She tracked down her first love, Bill, and we moved to London to start a new life. Together they provided me with the bedrock and support to go wherever my dreams took me. And my dreams could best be described as extra-large. I wanted to make it in the world of TV as a top Producer. But what chance would a teenager from Dublin, who left school at fifteen with no qualifications, have in a cut-throat world like that?

      My path saw plenty of speed bumps. I worked on a building site with hard-drinking Paddies, spent hours in a dark room as a photographic assistant and a host of many other jobs in Newsagent, Delicatessen and even running a host of many different jobs and even running a night club night club; until one day a chance would come my way. And sure enough it did. I heard there was a job working as a message boy at LWT, a first rung on the very long ladder to being a Producer. But what were my chances of landing that? Cat in hell’s spring to mind. Until I mentioned in the interview that I’d been runner up in Teenager of the Year in the Evening newspaper, for my work helping old age pensioners who were hard of hearing, I landed the job. I was in the industry and the world was my oyster.

      I had the good fortune to work alongside Mike Mansfield, the man behind the hit music show Supersonic, and one of the top music producers and promoters of the 70’s. He was the Simon Cowell of that time. This was my apprenticeship in the world of TV and music. But despite my young age, I didn’t want to work for others, I wanted my own business. I set up my own music production company and was soon making music videos for the likes of Elton John, Queen, Rod Stewart, George Michael, pretenders, Paul Weller as well as many US artists such as Neil Young, Cars Hall and Oates. The world was exciting, crazy, hedonistic and drug-fuelled. It was also a time when AIDS was never out of the news. Many of those I knew and worked with wouldn’t survive.

      Having been at the forefront of music videos for many years I once again got itchy feet and began to look for my next challenge. The idea came to me after a trip to New York, where I saw the vibrant and exciting gay scene in Greenwich Village. I thought why doesn’t London have something like that? Up until then gay bars and clubs were seedy, run-down places that left much to be desired. I decided to launch a gay bar concept that would be clean, inclusive and run by young good-looking men and women. I wanted to create a gay revolution with atmosphere to party and be proud to be out. And so Village West One, was born. This was followed by Village Soho and The Yard. And to top it all – the Soho Pink Weekend to make Soho not just the gay capital of London, but Europe. And I was named The Sultan of SoHo.

      I sometimes find it strange that me, a little, ragamuffin of a kid from Dublin could be feted by producers and artists from both sides of the Atlantic, have produced some of the most iconic music videos, and helped transform the face of Soho, making it the go-to place for gays from across the world.

      But The Sultan of Soho isn’t just my story. It’s about the two most important people in my life. The two who were with me, supported me, loved me, every step of the way. Cathleen and Bill. My mother and step father. I owe them everything.

      ‘Secret to Sultan’ is the follow on book to ‘Secret Child’, following the footsteps of the fifteen year old boy to adulthood.

Leave a Reply