6.9/10
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20 user 9 critic

Second Best (1994)

PG-13 | | Drama | 30 September 1994 (USA)
Trailer
1:58 | Trailer
Graham, a lonely Welsh postal worker, adopts James, a troubled ten-year-old boy. Graham always wanted a son, but James loves his biological father too much to give Graham a chance. Will the two be able to accept each other as family?

Director:

Chris Menges

Writers:

David Cook (novel), David Cook (screenplay)
Reviews
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
William Hurt ... Graham Holt
Nathan Yapp Nathan Yapp ... Jimmy
Keith Allen ... John
Chris Cleary Miles Chris Cleary Miles ... James
Doris Irving Doris Irving ... Adoption Shop Volunteer
James Warrior James Warrior ... Senior Social Worker
Jane Horrocks ... Debbie
Alfred Lynch ... Edward
Rachel Freeman Rachel Freeman ... Elsie
Gus Troakes Gus Troakes ... Jeffo
Mossie Smith Mossie Smith ... Lynn
Martin Troakes Martin Troakes ... Colin
Shaun Dingwall ... Graham, age 20
Paul Wilson Paul Wilson ... Colin, age 20
Alan Cumming ... Bernard
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Storyline

Graham Holt is a lonely middle-aged man who runs a postal substation in a small village in England. He decides to adopt a son. James is the troubled youth he gets with the assistance of social worker Debbie. James has been in an orphanage for years since his mother committed suicide. He adores his outlaw father John, sent to prison not long after the mother's death. Can James learn to love Graham? Can Graham settle for being second best? Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

30 September 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Difícil elección See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,190, 2 October 1994

Gross USA:

$86,115

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$86,115
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Theatrical movie debuts of Chris Cleary Miles, Nathan Yapp, and Jake Owen. They all played Jimmy/James at different ages, and this role remains their only acting movie work. See more »

Quotes

James: [emerging from the school bus Friday afternoon] You've got a broody expression, like a hen with constipation. Well, don't, 'cuz I've got the hermity. We're going camping this weekend. It'll be great!
Graham Holt: Not this weekend.
James: Why not?
Graham Holt: We have a visitor.
James: [pauses, puzzled] We never have visitors.
See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Only You/Second Best/Pulp Fiction (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wren
(La Capinera)
Performed by Josephine Tumminia with Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra
Courtesy of MCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A brilliant film about childhood trauma and a solution to it.
15 February 2002 | by goldenwristSee all my reviews

I've read the other reviews posted here and concur with all of them. The film triumphs in its realistic depiction of two broken hearts, Jamie's and Graham's. I think, in order to appreciate the story, one must have somehow experienced the psychic shock of childhood abandonment, either emotionally or by outright physical abandonment. The pleasure of watching this film, aside from the acting and cinematography, is having the sense that it will work out okay. At the very end, when Jamie walks briskly to catch up with Graham, slips his hand into the grownup's hand, and then walks much more slowly, one can see in their stride together the fulfillment each has received. I rewound the film at that point to see that scene again.


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