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Wah-Wah (2005)

R  |   |  Drama  |  2 June 2006 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 2,636 users   Metascore: 61/100
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Set at the end of the '60s, as Swaziland is about to receive independence from Great Britain, the film follows the young Ralph Compton, at 12, through his parents' traumatic separation, ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gwen Traherne
Lauren Compton
Lady Riva Hardwick
June Broughton
John Matshikiza ...
Dr. Zim Mzimba
Sid Mitchell ...
John Carlisle ...
Sir Gifford Hardwick
Mathokoza Sibiya ...
Sindisiswe Nxumalo ...
Michael Richard ...


Set at the end of the '60s, as Swaziland is about to receive independence from Great Britain, the film follows the young Ralph Compton, at 12, through his parents' traumatic separation, till he's 14. It is written and directed by Richard E Grant, and based on true events from Richard E Grant's childhood. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Every family has its own language.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

2 June 2006 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Bla-Bla  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$55,304 (USA) (12 May 2006)


$135,568 (New Zealand) (15 September 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Opened the Edinburgh Film Festival in August 2005, then had a special screening at the Toronto Film Festival September 2005. See more »


When Ralph comforts Ruby at the hospital, her dress starts slipping from her right shoulder. When the camera takes a close shot, the dress is up to her neck. See more »


Ruby Compton: I'm an American.
Lady Riva Hardwick: How very hubbly jubbly for you.
See more »


Features A Clockwork Orange (1971) See more »


The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy
Written by Don Raye & Hugh Prince
Performed by The Andrews Sisters
See more »

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User Reviews

Wah Wah and Hush Hush
7 July 2006 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

The most striking aspect of this film is the sheer honesty of the whole thing. Certainly this must have been a heart wrenching assignment for Richard E. Grant. To showcase one's own life through the most traumatic of circumstances, is both noble and humbling. The moral double standards of Colonial Britain at it worst, coupled with what must be emotional scars etched into Richard's soul, produce a film of compelling proportions. The back drop of a breath-taking Swaziland landscape, is almost missed as the emotions sweep you away into a numbing sensation, constantly reminding you this is FACT not fiction. Adolescence for most is traumatic enough without the aid of a dysfunctional family at a time when this just "wouldn't do", and the worst anyone could be was a "divorcee". The portrayal of relationships with his parents, step-mother, and all his "uncles" and "aunts" is complex and exhausting for the viewer. There are raw and frank accounts of Richard's personal "demons", and how he attempted to overcome these during these difficult years of his life. The film showcases some wonderful acting. In particular, Gabriel Byrne as the father, Nicholas Hoult as 14 year old Richard, Julie Walters as Aunt Gwen, Emily Watson as the step-mother, and Celia Imrie as Lady Hardwick. All are exceptional in their roles. Rather than "hush hush" Richard has literally blown the whistle on British "properness"! Make it a short-listed film to see, you will not be disappointed.

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