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The Boys Are Back (2009)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  12 November 2009 (Australia)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 8,389 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 36 user | 103 critic | 28 from

A sports writer becomes a single parent in tragic circumstances.



(novel), (adaptation)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicholas McAnulty ...
Natasha Little ...
Lewis Fitz-Gerald ...
Tim Walker
Nakia Pires ...
School Housemaster
Georgina Naidu ...
Daniel Carter ...
Digby & Paula's Child


The Boys Are Back is a confessional tale of fatherhood. It follows a witty, wisecracking, action-oriented sportswriter who, in the wake of his wife's death, finds himself in a sudden, stultifying state of single parenthood. Joe Warr throws himself into the only child-rearing philosophy he thinks has a shot at bringing joy back into their lives: "just says yes." Raising two boys - a curious six year-old and a rebel teen from a previous marriage -- in a household devoid of feminine influence, and with a lack of rules, life becomes exuberant, instinctual, reckless... and on the constant verge of disaster. The three multi-generational boys of the Warr household, father and sons alike, must each find their own way, however tenuous, to grow up. Written by Miramax

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Growing up can be the adventure of a lifetime See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual language and thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

12 November 2009 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

De vuelta a la vida  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$49,342 (USA) (25 September 2009)


$783,013 (USA) (30 October 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The house in the film was built at a property in Myponga Beach, South Australia and was planned to be taken down after filming. Owners of the property, however, persuaded producers to leave the house and surrounding areas intact and it has now been converted into the successful Bed and Breakfast "Brooklyn Farm - Joe's House". See more »


[first lines]
Joe Warr: [narrating] I don't know whether you've ever seen a map of a person's mind. Doctors sometimes draw maps of other parts of you, and your own map can become intensely interesting. But catch them trying to draw a map of a child's mind, which is not only confused, but keeps going round all the time. There is zig-zag lines on it, just like your temperature on a card. And these are probably roads in the island, for the Neverland is always, more or less, an island.
See more »


Featured in Live from Studio Five: Episode #1.85 (2010) See more »


Written by Jon Thor Birgisson (as Jón Þór Birgisson), Orri P. Dyrason (as Orri Páll Dýrason), Georg Holm (as Georg Hólm), Kjartan Sveinsson (Universal Music Publishing Ltd.)
Performed by Sigur Rós
Licensed courtesy of EMI Records
See more »

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User Reviews

The High Water Standard for both SAG Awards & Oscar
24 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Do not look for comforting resolutions and feather-smoothing platitudes or resolutions in "The Boys are Back."

The strength of this film is the confusion and adjustments of life necessitated by the accidents and the neglections of life. This was thoroughly captured by Allan Cubitt in his narrative adaptation of the episodic novel.

Scott Hicks has managed to reproduce these faults/strengths on film with a sure and loving eye. His work with script, camera and actors reminds me in many ways of the love songs that John Schlesinger sang to those he nurtured onto celluloid.

Clive Owen portrays his universal love and need through the chauvinist characteristics of his daddy hood. A solid harmonic melody consisting of grace notes.

George MacKay's artistic accomplishment as a teenager should not be over-shadowed by the younger actor. Those concerned about the emotional hurts of the "forgotten" child, will find the case for all forgotten children is made and reinforced by Master MacKay.

Then to that younger actor. Nicholas McAnulty as the youngest Warr, is the first "child actor" that has managed to go beyond "Yeah, nice work." for me. I can see, as Mr. Owen has said in an interview, why an actor of Owen's stature and ability adjusted to this boy's genius.

The entire cast, Ms Fraser, Ms Booth, the others cast by Nikki Barrett and Nina Gold, were exemplified by Alexandra Schepisi's mother-in-law. This oft-called "thankless role," sang with her humanism and fiber, especially in her scenes of conflict with Mr. Owen.

I hold this film, this director, this star, these co-stars/supporting actors as both precious additions to my memory bank and a water mark for what I consider art in the world of film.

Thank you, Arlen Dean Snyder

16 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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