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An adult nicknamed Misty is narrating a story about one summer in his life when he was an adolescent in the late 1960s. He was living in a Catholic orphanage in the Australian outback. His best mates were the "December boys" - Maps, Spark and Spit - the four of them so named because they were the boys in the orphanage born in the month of December. With a recent windfall, the orphanage decided to give each of the boys a group vacation for each of their birthdays, the December boys the first to go. Their vacation was to Lady Star Cove on the Australian coast, to stay at the home of Mrs. and Mrs. McAnsh - Bandy and "Skipper". Their relatively carefree Christmas vacation took a turn primarily from three events: learning the reason the McAnshes hosted the boys specifically at this time; Maps, the oldest in his mid-teens, exploring his sexuality with a girl named Lucy, who was also visiting Lady Star Cove for the summer; and Misty secretly learning that a young couple in the cove, Fearless...Written by
Director Rod Hardy had worked some years ago on Kangaroo Island [on 'Shadows of the Heart' (1990)]. He said: "I knew what a unique place it is. The script called for a cove where the film is set that was beautiful, but also desolate. Coves aren't that easy to find but the one at Kangaroo Island was perfect. It sits directly west so the sun sets between the headlands and gives it a magical feeling. We were also able to build our own town there. It meant we could work out of Adelaide and film there, but then not have too far to travel to Kangaroo Island." See more »
In this film, set in what appeared to be the 1950s, a Triumph motorcycle appeared with disc brakes. No mass-produced motorcycle had disc brakes until the 1969 Hondas and they never appeared on Triumph models until the 21st century. See more »
December Boys is an overly sentimental and cliché ridden tale, but it has a special something that makes it work. That something is the engaging performances of the two major boys - Daniel Radcliffe and Lee Cormie.
The action takes place during a Christmas holiday of the late 60's or early 70's in Australia. The December boys are four boys from an outback orphanage whose birthdays fall in December. They are given a treat of a vacation at the shore provided by an older couple.
The four are three pre-adolescents - Sparks, Spit, and Misty (Cormie) - and one older boy who acts as the big brother of the younger three. He is Maps, played by Radcliffe. The story is told by Misty as an adult and contains many, probably mis-remembered, events of that eventful vacation.
The boys are hosted by an older couple with the man being played by Jack Thompson as Bandy. This is a bare-bones part, and Thompson's considerable talents are wasted. Bandy's wife is ill with cancer, and there are some interesting scenes of interactions with the boys but the couple plays a very small role in the whole thing.
The vacation cabin is in a small cove accompanied by several others, and the inhabitants of these neighboring cabins provide a number of interesting characters. The most interesting to the boys is a young, childless couple. They are seen as potential parents by the boys, and the three younger ones compete in a battle for their attention - led by Misty.
Maps is far more interested in a local teenage girl with whom he develops an intimate relationship. Because Radcliffe became famous as Harry Potter, Russell Edwards of Variety sarcastically states, "Destined to be forever known as Harry Potter Gets Laid ," but I saw much more in Radcliffe's portrayal of a teenager's first love. His performance is richly affecting.
December Boys is an entertaining combination of the vacation adventures and fantasies of four boys coupled with that longing purity of first love. It's not a great movie, but it gives the viewer a good feeling and gives this viewer some memories and emotions of times long passed.
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