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
The High Water Standard for both SAG Awards & Oscar
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
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