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What Richard Did (ATOM Study Guide)

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What Richard Did (2012) is an Irish drama directed by Lenny Abrahamson. What Richard Did is suitable for secondary students in Years 11–12. The film is a suitable text for study in VCE English, Ethics, Health and Human Development, Sociology and Media.

Eighteen-year-old rugby player Richard Karlsen (Jack Reynor) is a handsome, charming and talented young man – the undisputed leader of his circle of privileged south-Dublin teenagers. Straight out of school with a long summer and then university ahead of him, Richard's world seems full of possibility.

This is a time of transition and change for Richard, and despite his easy manner and outward confidence he is sensitive to the shifts occurring around him. He is serious about retaining his friendships and upholding the values that have become important to him during his time at school.

A new relationship with Lara (Róisín Murphy), a friend of a friend that he meets at a beach party, seems to offer Richard the sort of mature relationship that he's yearning for. Yet he can't help but pick away at Lara's imperfections and the relationship challenges him as much as it thrills him.

Then all it takes is one night for Richard to destroy everything. Richard's jealousy and temper get the better of him and a minor row with volatile teammate Conor (Sam Keeley) turns into a fight that should never have happened. His fall from grace is devastating and not just for him. The entire community is shocked by the brutal and callous circumstances of Conor's death but that doesn't mean that those who know what really happened are prepared to tell the truth. Richard, consumed by shame and guilt, must suddenly confront not only the gap between who he thought he was and who he proves to be, but the awful truth that his future will not be sacrificed for the sake of justice for Conor and his grieving family.

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