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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Before the Video Game there was the real thing: Imagination.

Author: Cinema_Fan from An English Shire.
9 April 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Polar-opposites have never been so compatible, particularly with Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 2005) latest outing with Son of Rambow. Introducing two new comers Bill Milner (Will) and Will Poulter (Lee Carter) as two young school kids who find that even in the unlikely of places there can be a common interest.

It is in this movie of bonding, friendships and Sylvester Stallone that this English summer of 1982 has our heroes sweating their days film-making, fighting off religious beliefs', struggling against indifference and putting up with French patter and pose. With their social differences, one belonging to the Plymouth Brethren and the other a feral child. This wild child's dream is to win the BBC's Screen Test short movie competition, a U.K. children's television show about Film, with its fifteen year lifespan ending in 1984, and take note of who is presented with the winning prize toward the end, no other than a young real life Jan "Ratatouille" Pinkava himself.

An English movie at heart, and with French overtones, adding too, a little quality and that finer touch to the proceedings we are given the wonderful Eric Sykes O.B.E., C.B.E. who plays his part with comic professionalism. This is one comic caper of kids using imagination, wit and determination to pass their long summer days, breaking down barriers and building new paths to tread. Wonderful stuff and with great dialogue too from director Jennings; funny, heart warming and blissfully satisfying to watch. While not too deep with character development, with what we have, we are most entertained and at times moved. Moved by its simplicity, its richness in the dealings of connections and conflicts between all involved on screen, albeit young Will's overbearing religious values and loving mother, Lee Carters isolation from his never present parents and of course, la tour de force; the Son of Rambow: The home movie.

The Son of Rambow is more than the sum of its parts, its about that old aged fable shown in many kids films, but in a different light, great coming-of-age movies as Christina Ricci's Now and Then (1995), River Phoenix's Stand by Me (1986) to the magic of The Goonies (1985). Son of Rambow is amusing to the point of hilarity, touching to the point of sentimentality and rewarding like a good home movie should be; made well with imagination, wit and determination.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

I blame the parents…Son of Rambow

Author: jaredmobarak from buffalo, ny, usa
13 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you are in the mood for a story from the heart, about friendship and identity, growing up in a world foreign from your sensibilities and against what it is you want to be, despite the need to conform, Son of Rambow is just the thing. Be aware, however, that this is a British film with story at its core. There are slow moments throughout, but only in a bid to enhance the overall work. People walked out of my screening saying that they were bored—this is what happens when you get a free movie pass and go without knowing anything about what you are about to see. I had been anticipating Garth Jennings' follow-up to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with baited breath, ready to be taken into an original world straight from his mind. Being one part of the dynamic duo Hammer & Tongs, I knew he'd have something up his sleeve, a la Michel Gondry, by watching his inventive music videos. This film allows him to step out and put his imagination out there for all to experience. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

Everything is authentic here, from the time period of the 80's complete with soundtrack, dress, and VHS camcorders, to the homemade quality of the amateur film young Will and Lee are crafting. When the kids go behind the lens and start filming, you won't be able to remove the smile from your face. The two act like they are best of friends and go through the good and bad times that the stigma of "blood-brothers" brings with it. Their interactions make the film succeed completely because the bond they share is strong. When two outsiders find each other amidst the carnage that is Middle School, even if they are polar opposites, it is a hard thing to break. Finally able to live life knowing there is someone else to share in the fun is a drug that won't be kicked easily, no matter what family and school tells you. The more people that want you to separate, the more you will see that what you have together is the true reality; no one has the right to end it but you.

Just the setup of having a boy from an Amish-like upbringing in the "Brethren" mix with the class miscreant and bully is ripe for laughter and fun. From the onset we are privy to the clash of their two cultures. Lee Carter is a mischievous delinquent attempting to use Will Proudfoot as his slave and stunt man for the movie he is trying to enter into a contest inspired by First Blood. With his parents gone and only a brother who uses him as a servant, Lee needs this in order to compensate for the life he is leading. Only someone who is bullied becomes a bully himself; it is the only life he knows. Blackmailing Will into being his actor for some really crazy stunts, (complete with wonderful montage), may play to his needs, but it plays to the sheltered boy's as well. Will finally has an excuse to let his imagination run free from the pages of his drawing books and the walls of the bathroom stall. In a culture that is not allowed to watch TV, making a movie himself can be a very strong temptation. When he shows up at Carter's door in full Rambo garb, you know how the rest of the film will go. Lee curses under his breath because he sees he doesn't know what he has gotten himself into. Never in a million years does he think this boy would end up being the one person on earth he could count on.

Bill Milner, (Will), and Will Poulter, (Lee), hit it out of the park. I don't know how much of it is acting or them just intuitively going where the script takes them, but it is fantastic. The fact that they are so young and able to be so natural when behind the camera, yet so self-conscious and hammy in front of it—despite being in front of the real camera every second—just blows my mind. Milner is the naïve boy raised to be weary of the outside world, always cheery and completely gullible. When he gets a taste of fame he doesn't quite know what to do with it. Poulter, on the other hand, is the smart-mouthed kid building up a stone façade to hide what is really going on inside. His delivery of one-liners is priceless, definitely helping to make him the shining star of the movie.

I'd be remiss to not mention the wonderful supporting cast and creativity of director Jennings. His use of animation is integrated perfectly and the mix of watching what is happening along with how it filmed on the boys' camera is well orchestrated. As for the support, a lot is going on around these burgeoning filmmakers. Between the cliques at the school and the arrival of French exchange students, the small world is ever-changing around them. Jules Sitruk as Didier is absolutely amazing, oozing exotic chic and French confidence despite what we find out about his true nature at the end. This kid is Michael Jackson here, (that is a good thing, we are in the 80's after all), and everyone, girls and boys flock to him. The teachers and the old folks and even Lee's brother help add to the aesthetic going on, but what truly leaves its indelible mark is the culmination of all the hard work, seeing the finished short filmed displayed. The movie encompasses all that has been going on, permanently etching the bonds that have been forged and those that have been repaired to video.

Feel good movie of the year? Quite possibly hands down.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Watched on a whim, THRILLED

Author: Casey Dillard
29 February 2012

It isn't often when I pick up a movie out of boredom that it makes me excited about the stories to tell in film, but this was simply wonderful. The love between the two boys was amazing. That Will was so lonely he was grateful for whatever attention was paid him, that Lee was so nourished by Will's adoration and to have someone simply notice him for something besides bad behavior made both of them flawed, lovable and deeply human to me.

The comedy is a strong presence in the film, but it is full of heart, sincerity and tender moments. Both of the young boys in the leading roles are notable talents and the brother and exchange student both made for entertaining supporting characters.

The payoff of the film is the movie being made within the movie and getting to watch it in its entirety is special and moving. I urge everyone who hasn't watched the film to give it a shot.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

This movie makes me laugh all the way down to my soul.

Author: Mad Fatt Deeb from United States
29 September 2010

Son of Rambow (2007) Comedy/ Drama/ Family (PG-13) *Some Violence * Reckless Behavior Country: UK Director: Garth Jennings Bill Milner/ Will Poulter/ Jules Sitruk

This movie makes me laugh all the way down to my soul. I could have been this both these kids if I had any focus, hold on a second I need to make a little dancing man out of this paper clip… Sorry, what was I saying? Right, this movie is a true "Feel Good" film. Garth Jennings does a beautiful job of setting the scene, he puts you right there. From the teachers and the scenes in the school, to both the boy's home life, felt I was in the film. Good on you for that. It takes place in the 80's so the soundtrack makes me smile too. I don't want to spoil anything so I won't say much, but Didier's character was great. (love the costumes) He was so what me and my brothers tried to be back then. The sad thing is, as Jimmy the Saint also pointed out, is it movies to slow for most kids nowadays. I say, staple them to the chair and make them watch it, and "Labyrinth" too, little brats.

I loved this movie, I give it a 8 out of 10. I hold back 2 just due to I wanted a bit more of the funny parts.

I gotta go get my stapler and find my daughter now. Till next time this is Mad Fatt Deeb signing off.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Hope and Glory v. 8.0

Author: David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA
6 September 2008

Garth Jennings' hilarious "Son of Rambow" is a nearly perfect Generation-Y update of one of my favorite films from childhood, John Boorman's vastly underrated masterpiece "Hope and Glory." Whereas Boorman's "Hope and Glory" was tinted with melancholic Graham Greene era nostalgia and told the story of a young boy coping with Germany's blitzkrieg over England during WWII through the power of make-belief, Jenning's laugh-out-loud "Son of Rambow" takes a post-modern 1980's pop-culture inspired look at a young boy's escape from a harsh religious upbringing through an obsession with the movie "Rambo: First Blood."

When a religiously oppressed Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner, with the perfect comic timing only an untrained child actor could provide) forms an unlikely friendship with a criminally neglected and movie-obsessed Lee Carter (Will Poulter, first seen on screen smoking a cigarette while making a bootleg video in a packed theater showing the original "Rambo"), the two decide to make their own Rambo-inspired film to enter in a local contest. Insane stunt-driven "Tom and Jerry" inspired antics ensue while Will has to hide his new activities from the family-focused Brethren and the family-impoverished Lee can't help but get in trouble at school.

When Lee gets suspended for a mishap with a dog statue, a kite, and a science teacher clipping his nose hairs at just the wrong time; Will unwittingly attracts the attention of an inexplicably popular French exchange student and his bumbling British entourage who can't wait to take part in the film. What follows is a hilarious kids-level satire of the movie world complete with an ingenious "Boogie Nights" style series of scenes that show an exclusive underground club on school grounds where kids dance to bad 1980's music while chugging soda after downing Pop Rocks and highlights the bizarre brotherhood of filmmakers and actors that inevitably arises from such shenanigans. And that's not the only connection to auteur Paul Thomas Anderson, as like "There Will Be Blood", this "Son of Rambo" also features a pivotal scene of an emotionally distraught child covered in oil. And did I mention that like my novel "The Thief Maker" many scenes take place at a nursing home where Lee lives unattended by his jet-setting mother and step-father? Trust me, this is much funnier. Luckily, like Boorman's clearly influential classic, this film is also wonderfully photographed and chock-full of naturalistic acting from the young cast.

Sure, "Son of Rambow" lacks the gravitas and realism of Boorman's semi-autobiographical "Hope and Glory" but it packs a similar emotional wallop for those in my age group who grew up pretending to make movies in their backyards with neighborhood kids after the latest "GI Joe" or "Transformers" episode aired and were inspired by the latest "Star Wars" or "Indiana Jones" film before those franchises were raped for opportunistic profit during our disenfranchised adult years. For a generation of late 20's and early 30-somethings who spent their childhoods disengaged watching endless marathons of "The Little Rascals" and "The Three Stooges" on TV while action stars like Sylvester Stallone pounded movie theater audiences into a bloody pulp, "Son of Rambow" is pure imagination-inspired movie magic that will tickle the funny bone while successfully playing for our sympathies. In an increasingly strange year of hidden gems and quiet sleeper hits, from cathartic and clever documentaries like "Man on Wire" to wickedly dark Graham Greene tinted comedy-dramas like "In Bruges", Garth Jennings' touching and uproarious "Son of Rambow" just might be the most accessible and deserves to become a cult favorite on DVD.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Formula of deprived (somewhat) kids, mild eccentricity, feel-good, light sentimentality works reasonably well – a British half-gem

Author: Harry T. Yung ( from Hong Kong
14 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To be called a true gem, this movie needs a little more depth. Still, it's an enjoyable 90 minute experience. The protagonists are two 10-ish kids each with his own predicaments, with the scene set in a quite little English town in the 80s. The two main conversing lines are a summer student exchange program their school has with France and amateurs' attempt at making movies. Some critics' comparison of this movie to "Be kind, rewind" is a misfire – other than the obvious common parameter, these two movies are very different.

Will's (Bill Milner) predicament is the puritanical religious sect (think "The village") that his widowed mother is attached to, so much so that he is not allowed even to attend the video presentation segment of class. He spends most of his free time alone, emerged in a world of imagination and fantasy which is projected in beautiful scrapbook drawings. Carter is the polar opposite. Neglected by affluent parents (who have separated), he is left to the care of an equally negligent teenage brother. His introduction to the audience is the cinema when he is pirating "Rambo, the first blood" using a home camera while smoking a cigarette (he is around 10).

A chance encounter of this "odd couple" lead to a blood-brother (literally) buddy relationship as they embark on a project of making their own sequel to the action classic, "Son of Rambow" (the misspelling is intentional, and humorously brought up at the very end, after the ending credits, if you stay that long). Through the project, Will finds an outlet to realize his fantasy while Carter fulfills his dreams of being a filmmaker. To enrich the story, a third party is brought into the project – Didier (Jules Sitruk), the French exchange student who becomes the instant "American idol" ("British", I beg your pardon) of the students of both sexes in the school, as girls line up for a "test kiss" with him.

This movie is a little loose at times, but also has its sparks of inspiration. Generally, it treads down the path of predictability, particularly the up-lifting finale, but that doesn't stop anyone from having a good time, and a few drops of tears for the tender-hearted. The children are marvelous and the cast of veteran adult British actors provide solid support.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Sloppy attention to period detail, but a good movie

Author: seawalker from Birmingham, England
5 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Son Of Rambow" is a nice little film about a pair of lonely little boys who, one summer in the early 80's, decide to make their own sequel to "Rambo: First Blood" to enter into the "Screen Test" young filmmakers competition. "Son Of Rambow" is about realising the importance of family, growing up, making friends and knowing that sometimes (puts on very sincere voice), friends, you just have to follow your dream.

I thought that "Son Of Rambow" was really funny, kind of touching and, according to my Brother who was a schoolboy circa 1983, really accurate as to what it was like to go to an English comprehensive school at that time. There are great performances by the two main leads: Will Poulter as the Artful Dodgeresque Lee Carter, a rascal, thief and blagger, ignored by his family, and Bill Milner as Will Proudfoot, a boy stifled by the rigid and antiseptic religious community he has been born into, whose life is changed forever by the power of the movies.

One thing that I most definitely did not like was the sloppy attention to period detail. "Son Of Rambow" is set no later than 1983. Brian Trueman is shown as the presenter of "Screen Test", and "Rambo: First Blood" was released worldwide circa 1982/83. So far so good.

So, how could "The Reflex" by Duran Duran be played at the school disco, when the version played in the film, remixed from the track on "Seven And The Ragged Tiger", was not released until 1984? Ditto "Peek-A-Boo" by Siouxsie & The Banshees, a single not released until 1988? Also, an audience is seen waiting to watch the film "Yentl". That film did not come out in the UK until 1984. I am sure there may well be other discrepancies.

That aside "Son Of Rambow" is a good film, but remember to take your hankies for the end.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Charming if uneven film that is creative and funny at times but poorly structured at others

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
15 April 2008

Will is a creative but ultimately repressed and shy boy whose family are very religious, shunning television and other temptations of the modern world. It is during one of his regular exclusions from class (as they watch a video) that he meets bully Lee Carter, who has been put out of his class for other reasons. Lee gets both boys into trouble and, pretending to get Will off the hook, bullies the weaker boy into coming back to his house and help out with a home movie he is making for the BBC show Screen Test. The film is to be a version of First Blood, which Lee has pirated from the cinema. Seeing the film fires Lee's imagination and he takes no convincing to become Lee's stuntman and lead actor, with the two continuing their strange relationship during the making of it.

Although I understand why, I would almost prefer if I hadn't seen Son of Rambow on every bus that I drove past for the last few weeks and had come to it as a small British film that is "quite good" rather than having a lot of hype and praise lavished onto it. The reason for this is because the film is not brilliant but is actually rather good. It is hard to fault its creativity and the way it brings out the good feeling of children, in a simpler time, letting their imagination run while also trying to deal with the world that is bigger than them and in this regard Son of Rambow does really well. The concept is imaginative and many scenes are a delight as they mix real action with animation, reality with flights of fancy and so on and it is good enough that it is a shame that it doesn't really come together.

The problem comes with the story as this does feel rather disjointed and uneven and it takes away more than it gives. Again, in the sweep it works and I liked the theme of the outsiders, of Will's growth, of superficially strong or popular people being just as insecure than obviously so. However these things are moments and what the film fails to do is convincingly connect it across the running time. So what we tend to get given are fragmented moments of humour, pathos, creativity and so on but with very weak bridging and consistency in between. It is a shame because the moments are strong enough to make me enjoy the film and be frustrated at its unevenness. Fortunately it ends on a good note and left me with a warm feeling – but it was still a rocky road to get there.

You will hear it praised to the rafters of course, mainly by viewers who are overjoyed that a British film is made that people want to see and isn't rubbish but, for all its weaknesses the one area the praise is very deserved is in the two main actors. With no tangible experience between them both Milner (Will) and Poulter (Lee) are natural and engaging. OK so Poulter has to be a bully for most of it but this is to his credit that he is able to be this way while also keeping the audience by wearing it like a front. Milner is effective as he does gradually come out of his shell during the film and be a difficult and flawed character himself at one point. Sitruk's Didier is not as good, mainly because he is a visual joke rather than a character and I thought him and his character were a weakness in regards delivering the character-driven story. For all his weaknesses, Jennings cannot be faulted on creativity and he nails childhood imagination throughout.

Son of Rambow produces plenty of wonderful moments as it works with its central concept and it will leave you with a warm feeling inside. Sadly though, it is not a great film and it is a shame that it could not harness its strengths in a more effective and pleasing way because for all its good bits, it just doesn't flow together in a way that is as satisfying or as engaging as it could.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Two very different boys make a movie

Author: Tweekums from United Kingdom
27 November 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Will Proudfoot and Lee Carter may attend to same school but they are very different; Will is a member of the Plymouth Brethren who isn't even allowed to watch television and Lee is the school hooligan. One day while Will is sitting in the corridor while the rest of his class watch a documentary Lee is thrown out of his class and gets into an altercation with Will. They are sent to see the headmistress and Lee offers to take all the blame (and torture!) if Will agrees to be the stuntman in the film he is making. And so begins their friendship. While at Lee's house he sees a pirated copy of 'First Blood' and his mind is well and truly blown. He comes up with the idea of making the film 'Son of Rambo(w) and soon he and Lee are getting in more scrapes as they get filming. Meanwhile a group of French students visit their school and one of them, Didier, is rather popular. When he reads Will's script he wants to be in the film; soon Will is suddenly popular but his friendship with Lee is in jeopardy.

This film was an utter delight; the two young leads, Bill Milner and Will Poulter, were great as Will and Lee. The characters are likable which is a bit of a surprised as Lee starts off as a bully. The story is pretty simple but that is the charm of it. There are plenty of laughs to be had but there are also some poignant moments. Having been a teenager in the eighties there was a degree of nostalgia but it certainly isn't necessary to have been around then to enjoy this; I'm sure today's youngsters would enjoy it too! Likewise while it will probably be more fun if you've seen 'First Blood' it isn't essential… which is good as that film really isn't suitable for younger viewers who would enjoy this. Overall I'd say this is a fin film that can be enjoyed by older children (there is some swearing which parents might not want younger children hearing) and adults alike.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Great - but probably only for a very particular audience

Author: shieldspt from West Yorkshire, England
3 December 2011

An endearing, feel-good (unless you're Plymouth Brethren!), 1980's nostalgia fest. A bit of a cross between "Kes" & "Gregory's Girl". If you haven't watched either of those 2 films - or if you have watched them and didn't like them - then I doubt whether this film will do much for you.

If you can't relate to being in awe of a 'cool' French exchange student; or the thrill of being allowed in the hallowed ground of a 6th form common room; or dancing to The Cure, Duran Duran & Gary Numan, then you're unlikely to feel much of a connection with the characters in this film. It has so many uniquely 1980's British cultural references I suspect a lot of overseas audiences will be left just scratching their heads.

I also don't understand why they had to have so much bad language & blasphemy in it otherwise it would have been a really good family film. Why do British film producers do that? :o(

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