Young Plato

Young Plato

Ireland | 2021 | 102 min | Neasa Ní Chianáin, Declan McGrath

April 14 - 24, 2022

At a primary boys’ school in one of Belfast’s toughest neighborhoods, visionary headmaster Mr. McArevey uses ancient Greek wisdom as an antidote for pessimism, violence, and the historical despair of the Troubles.


Wedged among a cluster of working-class housing, Holy Cross Boys Primary School bears the scars of Northern Ireland’s “Troubles”: The surrounding community of Ardoyne is plagued by sectarian aggressions, poverty, illicit drug use, and urban decay. In this challenging environment, Headmaster Kevin McArevey and his dedicated, visionary staff are determined to reverse the fortunes of their young students, ages 4 to 11. McArevey cuts an imposing figure: tall, bald, a black belt in karate, and fiercely intelligent, yet he is also deeply empathetic and possesses a near-fanatical love of Elvis Presley. McArevey’s quest is to instill resilience in his pupils and help them manage their emotions in order to face whatever life throws at them. By drawing upon philosophical teachings—from the ancient Greeks to Nietzsche and other modern masters—he guides his pupils through challenging discussions about the past, their present lives, and how they may shape their own future. He encourages them to question everything, even their parents, and swiftly defuses any violence amongst the young boys. Throughout all these conflicts and challenges, co-directors Neasa Ní Chianáin and Declan McGrath provide an engaging first-hand account of the transformative effects inspirational teachers have on their young wards’ lives.

Dan Doody

  • Director: Neasa Ní Chianáin, Declan McGrath
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: Ireland, Belgium, France, UK
  • Year: 2021
  • Running Time: 102 min
  • Producer: David Rane
  • Screenplay: Neasa Ní Chianáin, Etienne Essery, Declan McGrath
  • Cinematographers: Neasa Ní Chianáin
  • Editors: Philippe Ravoet
  • Music: David Poltrock
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: In Loco Parentis (2017), The Stranger (2014)
  • Language: English
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Autlook Films