Up 2,669 this week

The Boys Are Back (2009)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.9/10 from 7,659 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 35 user | 103 critic | 28 from

A sports writer becomes a single parent in tragic circumstances.



(novel), (adaptation)
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 27 titles
created 27 Oct 2011
a list of 30 titles
created 28 Sep 2012
a list of 40 titles
created 05 Mar 2013
a list of 35 titles
created 7 months ago
a list of 32 titles
created 1 week ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Boys Are Back (2009)

The Boys Are Back (2009) on IMDb 6.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Boys Are Back.
6 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Duplicity (2009)
Crime | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Two ex-government agents turned rival industrial spies have to be at the top of their game when one of their companies prepares to launch a major product. However, they distract each other in more ways than one.

Director: Tony Gilroy
Stars: Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Tom Wilkinson
Shadow Dancer (2012)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Set in 1990s Belfast, an active member of the IRA becomes an informant for MI5 in order to protect her son's welfare.

Director: James Marsh
Stars: Clive Owen, Andrea Riseborough, Gillian Anderson
Trust I (2010)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A teenage girl is targeted by an online sexual predator.

Director: David Schwimmer
Stars: Clive Owen, Catherine Keener, Liana Liberato
Intruders I (2011)
Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Two children living in different countries are visited nightly by a faceless being who wants to take possession of them.

Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Stars: Clive Owen, Carice van Houten, Izán Corchero
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An Interpol agent attempts to expose a high-profile financial institution's role in an international arms dealing ring.

Director: Tom Tykwer
Stars: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Will Graham is a gangster who has left the life of crime and is living in the countryside. He comes out of hiding to investigate the death of his brother when he learns that he committed ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Hodges
Stars: Clive Owen, Malcolm McDowell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Private investigator, Nick Sharman, accepts a case which at first seems intriguing, but ends up causing him bitter regret.

Director: Suri Krishnamma
Stars: Clive Owen, Bill Paterson, Rowena King
Killer Elite (2011)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

When his mentor is taken captive by a disgraced Arab sheik, a killer-for-hire is forced into action. His mission: kill three members of Britain's elite Special Air Service responsible for the death of his sons.

Director: Gary McKendry
Stars: Jason Statham, Clive Owen, Robert De Niro
Shoot 'Em Up (2007)
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A man named Mr. Smith delivers a woman's baby during a shootout, and is then called upon to protect the newborn from the army of gunmen.

Director: Michael Davis
Stars: Clive Owen, Monica Bellucci, Paul Giamatti
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Beyond Borders is an epic tale of the turbulent romance between two star-crossed lovers set against the backdrop of the world's most dangerous hot spots. Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie... See full summary »

Director: Martin Campbell
Stars: Clive Owen, Angelina Jolie, Linus Roache
Derailed I (2005)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

When two married business executives having an affair are blackmailed by a violent criminal, the two must turn the tables on him to save their families.

Director: Mikael Håfström
Stars: Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Vincent Cassel
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

An art instructor and an English teacher form a rivalry that ends up with a competition at their school in which students decide whether words or pictures are more important.

Director: Fred Schepisi
Stars: Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche, Bruce Davison


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?


It took eight weeks to construct the Warr's house for the film. See more »


Artie: I've got nibbles.
See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 26 September 2009 (2009) 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Uplifting, devastating, authentic and low key - an unassuming success in compelling emotional storytelling
30 December 2009 | by (Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

Going by a superficial examination of director Scott Hicks' latest human drama, The Boys are Back, it might prove incredibly difficult to envision how the story, detailing the death of a spouse, healing through father/son bonding and the struggle to balance personal and selfless agendas in life, could avoid caving to contrived Hollywood sentiment and easy storytelling cliché. However, bearing this concern in mind, Hicks' film can be seen as affirmation to the fact that real stories of loss and emotional rebirth can be told without simply succumbing to excessive saccharine convention while retaining their authenticity, as The Boys are Back fuses humour, heartbreak, power and poignancy with the greatest of ease and with a complete lack of pretension, feeling impressively real and all the more resonant because of it.

While the film could be described as a challenging watch due to its upsetting subject matter, more challenging (in an entirely positive sense) is Hicks' refusal to provide the viewer with 'easy answers' or superficial narrative or emotional closure. Rather than providing a streamlined narrative filled with requisite Hollywood exposition and filler scenes, the film appears to simply jump from scene to scene, providing a clear sense of an overarching narrative, but with more of a clunky, episodic flow, devoting nearly as much emphasis to seemingly banal scenes as Owen's character struggling to do the laundry or leisurely sequences of the boys playing (framed by the sumptuous scenery of Southern Australia)as more pivotal plot points. However, such a narrative style amplifies the sense of realism of the story, as if Hicks' cameras simply happened across the events unfolding rather than them being carefully predetermined for maximum emotional effect, as one might see in a more carefully tailored Hollywood film. Similarly, despite the superficially fragmented sense of narrative, through representing seemingly inconsequential moments interspersed with the major emotional scenes, Hicks' story paradoxically feels all the more flushed out, hinting at a much grander story looming beyond its collection of trace moments, and feeling all the more realistic and impactful because of it.

However, Hicks' film truly excels at providing moments of raw, often tear-jerking emotion, without them ever seeming forced or false. The subtlety and abruptness of Owen's wife falling ill is all the more devastating through its lack of overt begging for sentiment, and many of the scenes of Owen attempting to cheer up his sons are likely to leave few dry eyes in the house through their overwhelming charm and the sheer naturalistic joy they evoke. As such, while the film is not without its occasional faults (rocky patches of dialogue crop up throughout and the story begins to drag as it approaches the end), its sheer power, emotional poignancy and Hicks' refusal to beat the audience over the head continually instils the film with life and immediacy, making it a perpetually interesting watch.

However, as with many such intimate human dramas, it is the strength of the central performers which really drives the film home. Clive Owen is simply flooring as the struggling sports writer attempting to find equilibrium between his own concerns and grief and taking care of his two sons after the unexpected death of his wife. Giving a performance brimming with pathos but also necessary charm, Owen easily delivers his best work to date: a magnificent, unshowy and achingly true portrait of a man in crisis which proves utterly unshakable after the film is done. However, as capable as Owen is, the performances by Nicholas McAnulty and George MacKay as his two sons (younger and older respectively), who prove just as proficient at delivering staggeringly honest, powerful, charming and heartbreaking performances of two boys caught between acting their ages and dealing with emotional trauma potentially beyond their capacities. Laura Fraser is also a heartbreaking and memorable presence as Owen's tragically deceased wife, seen largely in imagined conversations with him throughout the narrative.

Whether extracting tears of heartbreak or cheers of joy from the audience, Hicks' The Boys are Back proves a remarkably effective yet impressively low key drama filled with enough scrappy humour to provide much needed balance. With astonishing performances sure to attract awards attention, the film will hopefully begin to garner more widespread recognition and attention, which it unquestionably merits and deserves.


16 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Stop calling him sweetheart Clive! flickjunky
Two incoherences regarding Harry alixloop
Excellent movie, brilliant performances - don't miss it! jhab-1
Cricket... kal07
About 5 Minutes into the movie... o_skool99
Saw a Screening in NY last night paulmlamb
Discuss The Boys Are Back (2009) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: