In a suburb of London, young Jamie is escaping sport hours, to avoid being the victim of his comrades. Young Ste, his neighbor, is beaten by his father, and comes to sleep overnight. They discover new feelings, sleeping in the same bed.
Recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock is trapped into an affair with Mrs. Robinson, who happens to be the wife of his father's business partner and then finds himself falling in love with her daughter, Elaine.
Twelve year old Marcus Brewer lives with his chronically depressed single mother, Fiona Brewer. Both Fiona and Marcus beat to their own respective drummers. Marcus will do whatever he can to make his depressed mother happy, even if it causes himself grief. As such, he realizes that he is perceived as different than most kids, as even the self-professed weird kids don't want to hang out with him as he is the target of bullying. Part of the taunts against him are the fact that he sings and speaks to himself without even realizing that he is doing it. Meanwhile, thirty-eight year old Will Freeman is a slacker who has lived comfortably off the royalties of a song written by his deceased father, and as such has never had to work a day in his life. He is a solitary man who places himself as the first and only priority in life. He comes across the idea that dating single moms meets his selfish carnal needs. It is in this capacity that Will meets Marcus, as one of Will's single mother ... Written by
Hugh Grant shines; great coming-of-age movie; bloody hilarious and touching at the same time
In the wonderfully entertaining "About A Boy," Hugh Grant shucks everything that made him famous nearly a decade earlier in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (the floppy hair, the stuttering, etc.) and ends up giving his best performance to date. He plays Will, a wealthy, happily unemployed, commitment-phobic cad (slightly less insidious than Daniel Cleaver of "Bridget Jones's Diary") whose newest ploy is to date single mothers because they are easier to dump. However, he meets Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), the son of a somewhat suicidal mother (Toni Colette), and realizes that he cannot continue living his life so shallowly.
This film was based on Nick Hornby's wonderful book of the same name and retains much of the wit and touching humor. The early scenes depicting Will's "full," but spiritually empty, life are particularly amusing, with Will dividing the day up into units of time and spending these units on "web-based research" (finding pics of supermodels with see-through tops), "exercise" (shooting pool), grooming, and the like. Grant makes his character irresponsible, but remains enormously likable throughout the film. This is important because we start to identify with him, and understand his fears of commitment and helplessness behind his outward superficiality. His mannerismsGrant's specialty, I thinkare v. entertaining to watch; the selfishness, hurt, anger, recognition and more pass across his face effortlessly. The other cast members Nicholas Hoult, Toni Colette, and Rachel Weisz are also v. good in their supporting roles and play off each other well.
The film doesn't follow the book too closely, however, but does one-up on the book by wisely emphasizing some parts that the book downplays. For example, Rachel (played by Rachel Weisz) only appears for a few pages in the book, but has much more presence in the movie. Through the Rachel character, we see how Will's relationship with her is different from his past shallow ones, and we realize that he is growing up. Also, the movie is filled with great one-liners and sharp, witty dialogue that never feels forced. The movie also employs voice-over function (Will's) very nicely; for example, in one serious scene, Will follows the ambulance to the hospital, looking rather serious, but in his voice-over he says. "It was all terrible, just terrible. But driving fast behind the ambulance was fantastic." The character would never say that out loud, but it provides comic relief and the assurance that he is, indeed, very shallow.
The strength of "About a Boy" is in the simplicity and power of its scenes. Not one scene is wasted; each one tells us a wealth about the characters and leads to Will's self-discovery. That, along with Hugh Grant's delightful performance, and backed by a great score from Badly Drawn Boy, make "About A Boy" one of the most delightful, entertaining, and touching movies I've seen. It's a great feel-good movie. Highly recommended, especially to Hugh Grant fans, or anyone who has ever empathized or sympathized with Will and his situation. One of my favorites. 10/10.
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