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|Index||105 reviews in total|
I had no idea what to expect when I started watching "Son of Rambow,"
but am happy to say that I got much more than I expected. A touching
little coming-of-age story about friendship and loyalty that makes you
chuckle along the way and root for that awkward little kid in all of
The Good: Adorable lead cast - particularly Will Poulter does a fantastically mature job creating a sympathetic character with true feelings and realism. The film has a light, wonderful, and adventurous spirit like The Goonies with a deeper sense of friendships and relationships like The Outsiders. It's all wrapped up in a thick layer of 80's nostalgia that works pretty well. There are some very cute moments that cause you to giggle and they're played out with subtlety and charm. The camera-work and audio are first-rate, the sets are spot-on, and the use of animation to portray the child's imagination is done well. The skillful way that such a charming little tale is all based on Rambo shows the cleverness and thought behind it.
The Bad: Jessica Hynes as the mother just never worked. The script hinted at inner turmoil and struggle, but the actress played it entirely one-dimensionally. She nullified the effectiveness of most of her scenes. There was a brief couple minutes involving a teacher shoving a pair of scissors up his nose that did not work at all and shouldn't have made it past the editing room. Like most films set in the 70s or 80s, nobody really looks like anybody looked in the 70s or 80s.
The Verdict: It would be very hard to not enjoy this film. I think anyone from 12-70 years of age would enjoy watching it with the widest appeal to those of us who were kids in the early 80s. If you're looking for a light, funny, coming-of-age drama, you can't go wrong with Son of Rambow.
Grange Hill meets Lord of the Flies in an unlikely tale of two boys
from contrasting backgrounds who decide to make a video as an entry
into a kids' TV film-making competition.
The bizarre plot has little (if anything) original to say about the story's main themes of tween friendship and dysfunctional parenting. The narrative is poorly constructed and implausible. The mawkish sentimentality of the denouement ranks alongside the most stomach-churning that Disney has ever had the poor taste to dream up.
But the performances of the two young leads makes the whole thing forgivable. I loved it and recommend it wholeheartedly.
Screen Test was a BBC children's quiz that included a segment where
young viewers sent in home made films and the best one in each series
received a prize. Only once did the producers think that the short film
clip was so good that the young filmmaker could not possibly have made
it and investigated the matter further. However they were satisfied and
future Oscar winner Jan Pinkava received his prize and this moment is
shown in Son of Rambow.
In fact the pursuit to make a short film in order for it to be entered to be shown in Screen Test is central to the plot of this film as two mismatched school kids come together to make a film. Will Poulter is a rebel, a scoundrel and a disruptive influence at school who borrows his brother's camera and shoots his film on the side. Bill Milner is from a very religious family, not even allowed to watch television at school and hooks up with Poulter who persuades him to act as a stuntman in his movie and becomes enchanted with the movie process that fires his imagination especially as he watches a pirate version of First Blood.
There is a side plot of visiting students from France who hook up with the young movie moguls which in turn causes conflict between the two lads who have become blood brothers.
The film is inspired by young kids making home movies in the 1980s and not all of them were for Screen Test. The team behind Son of Rambow clearly remember some young kids (as do I) making their own version of Indiana Jones in their backyard which was shown in Barry Norman's film review show.
It is feel good film not solely aimed at kids as it also bleeds nostalgia for the 1980s. However although the films reflect the fact that the film might be set in the early 1980s, the fashion, clothes and music indicate a more mid to late 1980s settings.
What I like in British films is the honesty in depicting "nasty" things
as they are, including "adult" activities among children (unlike in
most US movies where the young do "adult" thing when over 18 only).
This realism together with references to right values and the use of
distinct (not doll-like) child actors results with nice coming-of-age
stories where both good and bad, laugh and tears are in place in a
The triggering element in Son of Rambow - action film First Blood - is not a children fairy-tale either, but it allows to develop nicely odd events and characters, although "boys will still be boys". Bill Milner as Will Proudfoot and Will Poulter as Lee Carter are great findings, the best supporting kid is Jules Sitruk as Didier Revol. "Older" characters are not elaborated, their relative importance is rather low, without catchy performances.
A nice Sundance-type film, not among the best, but still enjoyable. Apparently not for all families due to overt violence, strong language and criticism of religion.
Son of Rambow is made by a director of mostly music videos, and one
previous feature, the underwhelming adaptation of Adams' Hitchhiker's
Guide to the Galaxy. Here he displays a personal touch that was mostly
absent from the previous film. It's a tale of childhood, and two
outsider kids, one a religiously-indoctrinated shut-in with a wild
imagination as as a drawer, and the other without parental guidance and
a penchant for shoplifting and bootlegging copies of First Blood. They
meet somewhat unlikely in a hallway and Will and Carter (Bill Milner
and Will Poulter respectively, both excellent child actors) grow close
upon the bootleg of First Blood, which Carter wants to recreate for a
young- person film festival.
In a small way I was reminded of the documentary American Movie, which saw a group of ragtag filmmakers in a small town in Minnesota coming together (or rather being led by one eccentric one, though most 'normal' of the bunch) to make a short film. It was rough and crude ultimately, but it got finished and released. By the end of Son of Rambow, we know the film will be released and seen, though what the reaction will be is in question. While Jennings can lay on the sap in the third act, it turns out to be earned by the warm humor and sometimes weird BIG laughs in the mid-section with a French boy with a Flock of Seagulls look. When it comes to filming First Blood, and including with it a 'son' looking for Rambo along with a flying yellow dog (created by Will), it's hard not to get joyously silly.
But what also makes the sap earned is that it's a serious dramatic movie at heart as well. Jennings doesn't take for granted the "Bretheren" that Will is apart of, or rather his mother is apart of after his father's sudden death by aneurysm, and how this impacts the relationship between Will and Carter (Will technically can't watch any movies much less Rambo, and certainly can't be friends with mischievous Carter, who is a little punk who is lonely at heart). We're drawn in to the characters, and the high emotions of childhood, and what is unlikely will most likely happen; I've had friends like Carter, I know this group of wild kids, even if it's not the same circumstances or same country. The relatability to things here is uncanny, and it's what is most striking after being a sometimes amazingly funny comedy of makin-movies errors. It even leans into the quirky, but not too much so.
It's a winning little movie, unassuming and heartfelt genuinely, and includes some cool 80's music to go with its 80's style and Rambo.
Son of Rambow was an extreme surprise to me. I loved it on so many levels. It brings back nostalgia and makes me feel like a kid again because I have always been fascinated with video cameras and I've always loved to make little homemade movies. Exploring and making a world for myself has also been a big part of me. Will has an incredible imagination and runs wild with ideas and creations of his own and makes the world his own little masterpiece. He befriends a troublemaker, Lee Carter, and they decide to make a movie together. People who want to see some big blockbuster CGI movie should stay away from this one, this is a movie all about creating your own adventures and stories. It's about the passion of movies. This movie, on a personal level, is one of my favorites. It's extremely touching and sentimental, and to tell the truth, I was teary eyed at the end. It brought back some fond memories of my childhood and I will always hold this movie near my heart. Perfect for anybody who wants to feel like a kid again.
I'm a fan of British cinema in general, but wasn't able to view this until just the other night, then again the next day (I always watch films twice in case I missed something the first time). What a thoroughly delightful story it was! The plot has been sufficiently delineated by other reviewers, so I won't go there. The two protagonists, played by Bill Milner and Will Poulter, are endearing and believable, and the supporting cast equally good (they have several of the film's best lines). Poulter in particular is superb in his film debut, with his portrayal of Lee reminding me a lot of the title character in Neil Jordan's "The Butcher Boy".... a lonely kid who hides his hurt behind a facade of bravado. Milner's guileless, naive Will is excellent as well, with his transformation from pious soul to action-film star truly hilarious. All in all, very clever, subversively funny and with a number of genuinely touching moments. Would pair well with Danny Boyle's "Millions" for a double feature of family-friendly feel-good fun. Don't miss the DVD extras, with a making-of featurette and director Garth Jennings' own childhood action film. Highest recommendation.
I was drawn into this film right from the first scene where we see Lee
Carter running with a camera. From that moment onwards there was never
a dull moment and the film simply rocked, at least for QUITE SOMETIME.
It was funny, charming and everything else you can ask from a British
Will Poulter played Lee Carter and he was simply special. Great acting, good humor timing and above all the way he portrayed his character was amazing. I couldn't imagine anyone else playing the role after that terrific performance.
He is well supported by Bill Milner as Will Proudfoot. They formed what I call, "the perfect partnership" that carried this film from the beginning. Great to watch! The only part where this movie slacked off a bit is the middle section, there is character of a French exchange student which is really not required. This part specifically almost ended my enthusiasm.
But not to worry...the film ends well and overall I give it a Thumbs Up!
This film took me totally by surprise, especially since it got very
little notice when it was released in theatres. It deserves a place
next to such classic "coming-of-age" movies as MY LIFE AS A DOG and
HOPE AND GLORY. It tells the story of two lonely boys, Will (Bill
Milner) and Lee Carter (Will Poulter). Will's family are part of a
strict religious sect which prohibits such forms of entertainment as
TV, movies and music. Will makes up for this by creating stories of his
own in the form of elaborate drawings he records in his notebook. When
he meets up with the school bully, Lee Carter (Will Poulter), a creepy
little thug (even his eyebrows are scary) with a penchant for stealing,
the cleverness of the drawings inspires Lee to make an action film
using the camera he pilfered from his brother. The result is the epic
"Son of Rambow," featuring every cliché from every overblown Hollywood
action movie of the '80s (and then some--none of the RAMBO films ever
included a flying dog!) Their project gets more complicated when the
boys' classmates decide to enlist the help of a flamboyant, charismatic
French exchange student in the making of the film to add "star power."
Things get even more out of hand when Will's religious community
discover his activities and try to prevent him from continuing.
This is a film for anyone who loves childhood reminiscence movies, and also for anyone who just loves movies. The film manages to tell a sweet story about children and the friendship between two boys without ever becoming syrupy or cloying. At the same time, it pokes affectionate fun at movies, film-making, and movie clichés without a trace of meanness. It's fun to see how well-versed the boys are in the standard plots, language, and clichés of action films. And, on the subject of hackneyed movie plots,
a staple of many TV-movie bios is the scene in which the successful celebrity becomes carried away by the glamorous world of show-biz glitz and partying, and shuns his more down-to-earth pal, but later learns the error of his ways. That plot twist is included here, but it's done in a fresh, funny, yet still poignant way.
What this film lacks is the cheap, vulgar shock humor of most of the supposed "adult" comedies popular in recent years. Yet it manages to be funnier than most of today's comedies, and adults will enjoy it. Older kids will, too, and they may even be inspired to make their own films as a result of seeing it. Don't miss it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Garth Jennings has created a witty, and at times charming tale with his
film The Son of Rambow. We follow the escapades of two school children,
who are very different in character and upbringing but who come
together to create a film after their fascination with Rambo: First
The two young stars are very good and together with a somewhat quirky script manage to make The Son of Rambow an entertaining watch. The screenplay is imaginative and original and conveys Jennings evident quality as a screenwriter.
The Son of Rambow does have its flaws. On a personal level, at times I didn't like the strong British production and felt that a more commercial feature may have given The Son of Rambow that extra polish and edge, which it lacks at times. The film is also very much a taken with its fabricated fairytale world and a better grasp on reality and a more contemporary grounding would have been beneficial, and more emotively involving.
The Son of Rambow is enjoyable and charming. Although its eccentricities at times do hamper proceedings it is original and entertaining.
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