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The Boys Are Back (2009)

PG-13 | | Drama | 12 November 2009 (Australia)
2:30 | Trailer

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A sports writer becomes a single parent in tragic circumstances.



(novel), (adaptation)
6 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicholas McAnulty ...
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


Inspired by a true story 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?


Simon Carr and his two sons, the people the film is based upon all visited the set during filming. 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.
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Referenced in The Boys Are Back: A Photographic Journey (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
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User Reviews

Overall director Scott Hicks has delivered a worthy picture about mourning, adapting and moving on.
10 November 2009 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

At its core The Boys are Back is nothing new; tales of heartache and sorrow, and the plethora of emotions experienced after a loved one passes away, are a staple of the drama genre. It's thanks to novelist Simon Carr and screenwriter Allan Cubitt that Boys manages to feel fresh - albeit with slightly annoying characters, more on that soon – their book and adaptation, respectively, is in the higher echelon of 'mourning' dramas. The two plots – firstly Joe's new found responsibility to Artie then to his other son Harry, both under different circumstances – mould together seamlessly and never does it appear like they went for too much. Even the small subplots, which can so often be unnecessary, are natural and help boost the already exceptional story.

There is an issue though: the major players can be aggravating on occasion. Joe, a supposedly intelligent person, makes some parental decisions which – grieving a lost one or not – come off as just plain stupid and dangerous; mother-in-law Barbara needlessly spits out some manipulative dialogue; young Artie, possibly due to no fault of his own, at times behaves like a spoilt brat; and every now and then Harry is too whiny, even for a teenager. But hey, don't all family members have their faults? Unfortunately some of these are heightened after a life-changing event.

Greig Fraser's astounding cinematography must be given a mention. The rural South Australian setting is nothing short of breathtaking as Fraser's light green and orange palette gives the location warmth and calmness. The SA government would be well served using some of Boys material, the festival state's tourism would skyrocket. Complimenting the visuals is Hal Lindes terrific acoustic score, his music captures the mood perfectly for the opposing upbeat and pensive moments.

Overall director Scott Hicks has delivered a worthy picture about mourning, adapting and moving on. Would have been excellent if it weren't for the characters intermittently grating on your nerves.

3.5 out of 5 (1 - Rubbish, 2 - Ordinary, 3 - Good, 4 - Excellent, 5 - Classic)

15 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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