This incredibly emotional film paints a moving portrait of Daniel Radcliffe’s double – and the accident that left him paralysed. It’s a smart study of friendship, kindness and guilt

‘If I could squeeze your hand right now, I would. Life’s shit, right?” David Holmes is in hospital, where he has been admitted countless times since being paralysed in an accident 14 years ago. The spinal injury that took away the use of his legs subsequently caused him to lose feeling in his right arm, and he is profoundly worried that the same is happening to the left arm, which a nurse is massaging. But he is more worried about the nurse: he knows she recently lost a friend to Covid, because he took the time to ask.

Holmes, now 40, was Daniel Radcliffe’s stunt double on the Harry Potter movies until he broke his neck during the filming of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. On the surface, David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived is another of those documentaries where someone who has experienced a grave misfortune inspires everyone around them with their determination, selflessness and charity work. But it ends up as something tougher and heavier: a frank reckoning of a life – of several lives – remodelled by trauma.

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