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A Fantastic Movie About the Wonders of Childhood
sundevil2729 January 2007
I recently took this movie in at the 2007 Sundance film festival and am quite glad that I made the effort to sneak this little gem in. The movie was made by the very talented Garth Jennings of the famed music video production team Hammer and Tongs known for their visionary music videos and previously Hitcherhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Set in an average English town in 1982 the movie revolves around the interesting life of a 12-13 year old boy named Will whose family is part of a strict religious group that prohibits him from having any friends outside the group and strictly forbids him from watchings any TV or Movies. Without these usual sources of childhood entertainment Will finds other ways to pass the time, namely in drawing out his flourishing imagination that he scribbles and doodles all over the pages of his bible. One day Will unexpectedly crosses paths with the school terror Carter who also happens to be an amateur bootlegger at the local movie theater. Will, whose never seen a movie before is caught off guard when at Carters home he sees Rambo playing on the TV, the visuals of the movie explode in Will's imaginative mind and from there on out Will is forever changed. An unlikely friendship begins between Will and Carter as they begin production on Carter's home movie masterpiece, Son of Rambow. The two children begin coming closer before their friendship is tested by a new-wave French exchange student Didier Revolve. As the friendship between Will and Carter begins getting twisted so does his relationship with his family, as the church group starts taking notice of Wills more worldly interests. In the end Will must stay true to himself and the film must go on.

The performances by all the children were exceptional, especially Carter who is the movie's sparkplug and provides comic relief frequently. As well as Didier the french exchange student who is a text book example of how absurd the whole new wave trends of the day were, his appearances are all wildly amusing. The movie also has a fair amount of quirky animations and dream sequences that offer visual pleasures for the eyes and bring childhood doodles to life. The movie is just a brilliant little idea and it plays out so very well in all the settings and the characters are extremely likable in all manners, the movie should play great for almost all ages
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Exceeded expectations, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
felicity-168 April 2008
It helped that I'd been warned to expect something a little more substantial than just a Rambo spoof (apparently suggested by trailers and bus advertising), which is possibly why my flatmate's boyfriend didn't enjoy it.

That doesn't mean though that guys won't enjoy this film as much as my girlfriends and I did. It follows similar themes to 'Stand by Me' (the classic starring River Phoenix), such as childhood loyalty and comradeship, but in a typically British fashion with understated humour, quirky comedy, and some nice references to 80s Britain.

Genuine laugh out loud moments, poignant and uplifting, and it can also just be appreciated as a well made film, with good acting, dialogue and direction.
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Engaging and hilarious
Robert_Woodward17 April 2008
Son of Rambow, set in 1980's England, tells the story of two young schoolboys making a home-video addition to the Rambo series. This promising theme gives rise to one of the most hilarious comedies in recent cinema, memorable not only for countless laugh-out-loud moments but also for its engaging and unexpectedly moving story.

Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) and Lee Carter (Will Poulter) are a chalk and cheese pairing, thrown together by chance after being summoned to detention at school. Will, from a fatherless family in the grip of the austerely religious Brethren, is a heart-warmingly polite boy harbouring a boundlessly artistic imagination; Carter, from a parentless household, is a lonely rebel with a total lack of respect for everyone except his astoundingly self-absorbed brother, marvellously played by Ed Westwick. And yet, following their chance encounter, the situation where naïve and amiable Will is exploited by sharp-witted and seemingly cynical Carter is replaced by mounting empathy and friendship between the two, alternately spurred and severed by their family backgrounds and their turbulent film-making.

The two leads are remarkable debut actors, making the story touching and believable and realising the film's comic potential. Poulter is hilarious in the role of Carter, delivering stinging wit and outraged putdowns with aplomb. The shooting of the film provides some hysterical contrasts between grown-up pretensions and childlike absurdity, with gun-battle sequences ripped straight from 'Rambo: First Blood' interspersed with footage of a flying dog attack.

The overlapping secondary story, portraying the school-playground infatuation with the New Wave style of French exchange student Didier, is also a rich seam of humour; the stinging parody of teenage culture culminates in Will and Carter's visit to the school common room, populated by posing, pogoing teens. The supporting cast of adults also includes some fine comic actors, including Jessica Stevenson (notably of TV comedy Spaced) and Adam (of the Adam and Joe Show fame).

Writer-director Garth Jennings skilfully weaves together the overlapping worlds of children, teenagers and adults in this film with excellent dialogue and cinematography. The camera-work is striking in many places, particularly the opening montage of front gardens, with Lee riding his bike past and casually causing havoc. The film also benefits from its bubbly soundtrack, composed by Joby Talbot. This is a superb comedy and definitely the best Rambo film ever.
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Son of Rambow Movie Review
GoneWithTheTwins5 April 2008
A fairly straightforward story of friendship, rebellion, and creativity becomes an outlandish ride through comic absurdity thanks to a bevy of inventively eccentric characters clashing with the notions of order. A kid's movie with a mix of laugh-out-loud moments and weirdly clever ones, Son of Rambow plays out like an Eagle and Shark vs. Terabithia where unconventional morals collide with redeeming themes and several overactive imaginations.

Sheltered to the point of solitude by an overprotective mother and a smothering religion, young William (Bill Milner) resorts to expressing his creativity in elaborate illustrations in unlikely places. His diminutive world is forever changed when he crosses paths with school troublemaker Lee Carter, who bullies him into helping film an amateur action movie. Initially reluctant, his outlook changes after unintentionally viewing a bootlegged tape of First Blood. The explosive violence and unrestrained mayhem ignites Will's imagination, and an unlikely friendship forms when the mismatched duo set about making "Son of Rambow." The storyline follows a rather predictable progression, but what makes the film unique is the multitude of exaggerated stereotypes and off-the-wall characters. Will's heavily sheltered childhood has created an introvert desperate to escape the confines of his lifestyle, and he is alternately eccentric and sweetly innocent. Conniving and obnoxious terror Carter is contrary to Will in almost every way. Clearly a product of his disruptive upbringing, he rebels against authority as often as possible and scoffs at the idea of order. Both boys suffer from a common ailment – the lack of a father figure and a stable home, and watching their friendship grow is easily the most entertaining aspect of the film. Complementing these two are several conflicted characters whose eccentricities easily rival their own. Most notably is Didier, a French foreign exchange student whose outrageous style and attitude awes the English boys into forming a cult of followers. Even many of the teachers and the no-nonsense Brother Joshua seem infused with peculiar traits in their personalities.

While the most recognizable themes of staying true to one's heart and the bonds of friendship readily exist on the surface, more unconventional morals frequent the underlying story. In this offbeat tale of growing up, rebellion is viewed as comical and a necessary implement for combating the evils of order. Religion is shown as a suppressing tool of control, confining both creativity and imagination, as well as forbidding socializing with those outside the faith. Rarely in kid's movies do we see religion as the villain and rebellion the key to success.

Paralleling the overactive imaginations of youth, the fantastical characters and events are both the highlight of the film and it's only downside. So often the visuals and madcap occurrences will leave you torn between laughing out loud and raising an eyebrow in bewilderment. In the end, this refreshingly bizarre take on the delirium of growing up entertains with its unconventional characters and antics – plus, seeing a dead crow knock a kid off his bike never fails to amuse.

  • Joel Massie
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Almost Perfect
mrwoodz5113 April 2008
If you sometimes feel like all you watch are big-budget 'blockbuster' movies this is the film to remind you what movie-making should be.

Attended a preview screening this week, and can't wait for the weekend so I can go back and watch it again. The screening was packed, and the general reaction definitely agreed with my own.

There are several 'laugh-out-loud' moments, from the opening titles, to the touching climax, and at many points in between, in a well written, perfectly paced film. I am someone who goes to a lot of movies, and sometimes find myself checking my watch, but this draws you in from the start, and it never loses you.

Probably has most appeal for those , like myself, who were in the UK in the 80's but I'm sure it has appeal for all, and hope the two leads go on to further success in the future. There is an innocent charm about the lead pairing, and the movie as a whole, that should transcend national and cultural boundaries.
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Essential Feel good Entertainment
chimbers2214 November 2007
I was lucky enough to see this film at a private screening in London and i'm happy to say it really does live up to the hype. You can see why Paramount bought this film for $8 million (a record for any film being bought at Sundance) as they will surely make ten times that.

This film has something for everyone; laughter, emotion and enough nostalgic material from the 80's to keep any generation from that decade and previous ones happy.

I was also extremely impressed with the two young unknown (at the point of this review) leads. It's worth seeing this film just for their performances.

The film the two boys make within the film is quite charming too and is itself better than most of the crap being made today, even if it is essentially a home movie being filmed in some woods with a camcorder.

Quite simply a modern day classic and will no doubt hold a space in all film buffs DVD collection.

Well Done!
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Fantastic movie.
coreyalexander6 April 2008
This movie just screened at the Florida Film Festival in Orlando, Fl. The crowd applauded, laughed and cheered throughout. This should be a big hit if it has a wide release in May. I loved the fact the film was set in the mid-80's, when I was also a student in junior high school. The soundtrack to the film was a lot of fun with hits by Depeche Mode and Cars by Gary Neuman. Also, I swear that I saw the band members of Travis in a scene shot in the faculty lounge of the school. I think the film is equally rewarding for both children and adults and will also be appreciated by anyone who love the art of cinema. I honestly can't imagine anyone not being moved and amused by this little film.
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Much better than the trailer - heart warming and lovable
rabbitmoon23 March 2008
When I saw the trailer for this film, it looked like another corny British comedy. The film itself is much, much better than that, as someone else has said it feels more like a Michael Gondry film. Very idiosyncratic, quirky and confident in what it does, with many laugh-out-loud moments. What I enjoyed most of all was how some really nice themes and subplots started to innocently dovetail with the story, never feeling contrived, or overly sentimental. There were some great touches where the writer/director chose to imply or suggest something without going overboard - which makes for a much more warming experience than the usual obvious and clunky approach in British screen writing. The acting was superb. This film will appeal to many, many people for different reasons - I just hope they are encouraged and inspired enough to go and see it. I hope that word of mouth does this film the justice it deserves. Go see it!!
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David Lemon16 March 2008
I had high hopes for this film as it's very much the era I grew up in.

I too wanted to send a film for 'Screen Test' (an 80s UK film quiz show for children's TV with a regular slot for home-made films) though I didn't get tosee Sly eating snakes and stitching up his arm till much later.

I'm happy to say that it didn't disappoint at all. The performances were wonderful (especially the young leads) and as well as having more than its fair share of laugh out loud moments, there's a real warmth and emotional truth to this story of friendship, growing up and blowing stuff up.

I really hope 'Son Of Rambow' is the hit it deserves to be.
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I'll Pray for you Lee Carter
David Ferguson18 May 2008
Greetings again from the darkness. The Sundance favorite is finally making the rounds and I found this to be a very entertaining and charming film, despite its relative simplicity.

A semi-autobiographical piece from writer/director Garth Jennings ("The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"), the film focuses on the escapades of two young boys making a movie. Along the way, many topics are addressed ... family, religion, friendship, loyalty, idol-worship, etc.

Bill Milner (as Will Proudfoot) and Will Poulter (as Lee Carter) are the newcomers who play the boys. Poulter is a near reincarnation of River Phoenix as Chris Chambers ("Stand By Me") as he carries so much bottled up emotion stemming from his longing for attention. Milner's character is the more sensitive, creative type being suffocated by his family's religion. Quite a pair.

As a commentary on film and celebrity, the two boy's world is rocked when their film-making is discovered. Now everyone wants a piece including the French exchange student, Didier, played hysterically well by Jules Sitruk. Character issues to follow!

The boys are so endearing that most kids would enjoy the film and certainly most adults who were still growing up in the 80's will get a kick out of it.
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Before the Video Game there was the real thing: Imagination.
Cinema_Fan9 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Polar-opposites have never been so compatible, particularly with Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 2005) latest outing with Son of Rambow. Introducing two new comers Bill Milner (Will) and Will Poulter (Lee Carter) as two young school kids who find that even in the unlikely of places there can be a common interest.

It is in this movie of bonding, friendships and Sylvester Stallone that this English summer of 1982 has our heroes sweating their days film-making, fighting off religious beliefs', struggling against indifference and putting up with French patter and pose. With their social differences, one belonging to the Plymouth Brethren and the other a feral child. This wild child's dream is to win the BBC's Screen Test short movie competition, a U.K. children's television show about Film, with its fifteen year lifespan ending in 1984, and take note of who is presented with the winning prize toward the end, no other than a young real life Jan "Ratatouille" Pinkava himself.

An English movie at heart, and with French overtones, adding too, a little quality and that finer touch to the proceedings we are given the wonderful Eric Sykes O.B.E., C.B.E. who plays his part with comic professionalism. This is one comic caper of kids using imagination, wit and determination to pass their long summer days, breaking down barriers and building new paths to tread. Wonderful stuff and with great dialogue too from director Jennings; funny, heart warming and blissfully satisfying to watch. While not too deep with character development, with what we have, we are most entertained and at times moved. Moved by its simplicity, its richness in the dealings of connections and conflicts between all involved on screen, albeit young Will's overbearing religious values and loving mother, Lee Carters isolation from his never present parents and of course, la tour de force; the Son of Rambow: The home movie.

The Son of Rambow is more than the sum of its parts, its about that old aged fable shown in many kids films, but in a different light, great coming-of-age movies as Christina Ricci's Now and Then (1995), River Phoenix's Stand by Me (1986) to the magic of The Goonies (1985). Son of Rambow is amusing to the point of hilarity, touching to the point of sentimentality and rewarding like a good home movie should be; made well with imagination, wit and determination.
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I blame the parents…Son of Rambow
jaredmobarak13 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
If you are in the mood for a story from the heart, about friendship and identity, growing up in a world foreign from your sensibilities and against what it is you want to be, despite the need to conform, Son of Rambow is just the thing. Be aware, however, that this is a British film with story at its core. There are slow moments throughout, but only in a bid to enhance the overall work. People walked out of my screening saying that they were bored—this is what happens when you get a free movie pass and go without knowing anything about what you are about to see. I had been anticipating Garth Jennings' follow-up to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with baited breath, ready to be taken into an original world straight from his mind. Being one part of the dynamic duo Hammer & Tongs, I knew he'd have something up his sleeve, a la Michel Gondry, by watching his inventive music videos. This film allows him to step out and put his imagination out there for all to experience. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next.

Everything is authentic here, from the time period of the 80's complete with soundtrack, dress, and VHS camcorders, to the homemade quality of the amateur film young Will and Lee are crafting. When the kids go behind the lens and start filming, you won't be able to remove the smile from your face. The two act like they are best of friends and go through the good and bad times that the stigma of "blood-brothers" brings with it. Their interactions make the film succeed completely because the bond they share is strong. When two outsiders find each other amidst the carnage that is Middle School, even if they are polar opposites, it is a hard thing to break. Finally able to live life knowing there is someone else to share in the fun is a drug that won't be kicked easily, no matter what family and school tells you. The more people that want you to separate, the more you will see that what you have together is the true reality; no one has the right to end it but you.

Just the setup of having a boy from an Amish-like upbringing in the "Brethren" mix with the class miscreant and bully is ripe for laughter and fun. From the onset we are privy to the clash of their two cultures. Lee Carter is a mischievous delinquent attempting to use Will Proudfoot as his slave and stunt man for the movie he is trying to enter into a contest inspired by First Blood. With his parents gone and only a brother who uses him as a servant, Lee needs this in order to compensate for the life he is leading. Only someone who is bullied becomes a bully himself; it is the only life he knows. Blackmailing Will into being his actor for some really crazy stunts, (complete with wonderful montage), may play to his needs, but it plays to the sheltered boy's as well. Will finally has an excuse to let his imagination run free from the pages of his drawing books and the walls of the bathroom stall. In a culture that is not allowed to watch TV, making a movie himself can be a very strong temptation. When he shows up at Carter's door in full Rambo garb, you know how the rest of the film will go. Lee curses under his breath because he sees he doesn't know what he has gotten himself into. Never in a million years does he think this boy would end up being the one person on earth he could count on.

Bill Milner, (Will), and Will Poulter, (Lee), hit it out of the park. I don't know how much of it is acting or them just intuitively going where the script takes them, but it is fantastic. The fact that they are so young and able to be so natural when behind the camera, yet so self-conscious and hammy in front of it—despite being in front of the real camera every second—just blows my mind. Milner is the naïve boy raised to be weary of the outside world, always cheery and completely gullible. When he gets a taste of fame he doesn't quite know what to do with it. Poulter, on the other hand, is the smart-mouthed kid building up a stone façade to hide what is really going on inside. His delivery of one-liners is priceless, definitely helping to make him the shining star of the movie.

I'd be remiss to not mention the wonderful supporting cast and creativity of director Jennings. His use of animation is integrated perfectly and the mix of watching what is happening along with how it filmed on the boys' camera is well orchestrated. As for the support, a lot is going on around these burgeoning filmmakers. Between the cliques at the school and the arrival of French exchange students, the small world is ever-changing around them. Jules Sitruk as Didier is absolutely amazing, oozing exotic chic and French confidence despite what we find out about his true nature at the end. This kid is Michael Jackson here, (that is a good thing, we are in the 80's after all), and everyone, girls and boys flock to him. The teachers and the old folks and even Lee's brother help add to the aesthetic going on, but what truly leaves its indelible mark is the culmination of all the hard work, seeing the finished short filmed displayed. The movie encompasses all that has been going on, permanently etching the bonds that have been forged and those that have been repaired to video.

Feel good movie of the year? Quite possibly hands down.
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Watched on a whim, THRILLED
Casey Dillard29 February 2012
It isn't often when I pick up a movie out of boredom that it makes me excited about the stories to tell in film, but this was simply wonderful. The love between the two boys was amazing. That Will was so lonely he was grateful for whatever attention was paid him, that Lee was so nourished by Will's adoration and to have someone simply notice him for something besides bad behavior made both of them flawed, lovable and deeply human to me.

The comedy is a strong presence in the film, but it is full of heart, sincerity and tender moments. Both of the young boys in the leading roles are notable talents and the brother and exchange student both made for entertaining supporting characters.

The payoff of the film is the movie being made within the movie and getting to watch it in its entirety is special and moving. I urge everyone who hasn't watched the film to give it a shot.
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This movie makes me laugh all the way down to my soul.
Mad Fatt Deeb29 September 2010
Son of Rambow (2007) Comedy/ Drama/ Family (PG-13) *Some Violence * Reckless Behavior Country: UK Director: Garth Jennings Bill Milner/ Will Poulter/ Jules Sitruk

This movie makes me laugh all the way down to my soul. I could have been this both these kids if I had any focus, hold on a second I need to make a little dancing man out of this paper clip… Sorry, what was I saying? Right, this movie is a true "Feel Good" film. Garth Jennings does a beautiful job of setting the scene, he puts you right there. From the teachers and the scenes in the school, to both the boy's home life, felt I was in the film. Good on you for that. It takes place in the 80's so the soundtrack makes me smile too. I don't want to spoil anything so I won't say much, but Didier's character was great. (love the costumes) He was so what me and my brothers tried to be back then. The sad thing is, as Jimmy the Saint also pointed out, is it movies to slow for most kids nowadays. I say, staple them to the chair and make them watch it, and "Labyrinth" too, little brats.

I loved this movie, I give it a 8 out of 10. I hold back 2 just due to I wanted a bit more of the funny parts.

I gotta go get my stapler and find my daughter now. Till next time this is Mad Fatt Deeb signing off.
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Hope and Glory v. 8.0
Garth Jennings' hilarious "Son of Rambow" is a nearly perfect Generation-Y update of one of my favorite films from childhood, John Boorman's vastly underrated masterpiece "Hope and Glory." Whereas Boorman's "Hope and Glory" was tinted with melancholic Graham Greene era nostalgia and told the story of a young boy coping with Germany's blitzkrieg over England during WWII through the power of make-belief, Jenning's laugh-out-loud "Son of Rambow" takes a post-modern 1980's pop-culture inspired look at a young boy's escape from a harsh religious upbringing through an obsession with the movie "Rambo: First Blood."

When a religiously oppressed Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner, with the perfect comic timing only an untrained child actor could provide) forms an unlikely friendship with a criminally neglected and movie-obsessed Lee Carter (Will Poulter, first seen on screen smoking a cigarette while making a bootleg video in a packed theater showing the original "Rambo"), the two decide to make their own Rambo-inspired film to enter in a local contest. Insane stunt-driven "Tom and Jerry" inspired antics ensue while Will has to hide his new activities from the family-focused Brethren and the family-impoverished Lee can't help but get in trouble at school.

When Lee gets suspended for a mishap with a dog statue, a kite, and a science teacher clipping his nose hairs at just the wrong time; Will unwittingly attracts the attention of an inexplicably popular French exchange student and his bumbling British entourage who can't wait to take part in the film. What follows is a hilarious kids-level satire of the movie world complete with an ingenious "Boogie Nights" style series of scenes that show an exclusive underground club on school grounds where kids dance to bad 1980's music while chugging soda after downing Pop Rocks and highlights the bizarre brotherhood of filmmakers and actors that inevitably arises from such shenanigans. And that's not the only connection to auteur Paul Thomas Anderson, as like "There Will Be Blood", this "Son of Rambo" also features a pivotal scene of an emotionally distraught child covered in oil. And did I mention that like my novel "The Thief Maker" many scenes take place at a nursing home where Lee lives unattended by his jet-setting mother and step-father? Trust me, this is much funnier. Luckily, like Boorman's clearly influential classic, this film is also wonderfully photographed and chock-full of naturalistic acting from the young cast.

Sure, "Son of Rambow" lacks the gravitas and realism of Boorman's semi-autobiographical "Hope and Glory" but it packs a similar emotional wallop for those in my age group who grew up pretending to make movies in their backyards with neighborhood kids after the latest "GI Joe" or "Transformers" episode aired and were inspired by the latest "Star Wars" or "Indiana Jones" film before those franchises were raped for opportunistic profit during our disenfranchised adult years. For a generation of late 20's and early 30-somethings who spent their childhoods disengaged watching endless marathons of "The Little Rascals" and "The Three Stooges" on TV while action stars like Sylvester Stallone pounded movie theater audiences into a bloody pulp, "Son of Rambow" is pure imagination-inspired movie magic that will tickle the funny bone while successfully playing for our sympathies. In an increasingly strange year of hidden gems and quiet sleeper hits, from cathartic and clever documentaries like "Man on Wire" to wickedly dark Graham Greene tinted comedy-dramas like "In Bruges", Garth Jennings' touching and uproarious "Son of Rambow" just might be the most accessible and deserves to become a cult favorite on DVD.
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Formula of deprived (somewhat) kids, mild eccentricity, feel-good, light sentimentality works reasonably well – a British half-gem
Harry T. Yung14 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
To be called a true gem, this movie needs a little more depth. Still, it's an enjoyable 90 minute experience. The protagonists are two 10-ish kids each with his own predicaments, with the scene set in a quite little English town in the 80s. The two main conversing lines are a summer student exchange program their school has with France and amateurs' attempt at making movies. Some critics' comparison of this movie to "Be kind, rewind" is a misfire – other than the obvious common parameter, these two movies are very different.

Will's (Bill Milner) predicament is the puritanical religious sect (think "The village") that his widowed mother is attached to, so much so that he is not allowed even to attend the video presentation segment of class. He spends most of his free time alone, emerged in a world of imagination and fantasy which is projected in beautiful scrapbook drawings. Carter is the polar opposite. Neglected by affluent parents (who have separated), he is left to the care of an equally negligent teenage brother. His introduction to the audience is the cinema when he is pirating "Rambo, the first blood" using a home camera while smoking a cigarette (he is around 10).

A chance encounter of this "odd couple" lead to a blood-brother (literally) buddy relationship as they embark on a project of making their own sequel to the action classic, "Son of Rambow" (the misspelling is intentional, and humorously brought up at the very end, after the ending credits, if you stay that long). Through the project, Will finds an outlet to realize his fantasy while Carter fulfills his dreams of being a filmmaker. To enrich the story, a third party is brought into the project – Didier (Jules Sitruk), the French exchange student who becomes the instant "American idol" ("British", I beg your pardon) of the students of both sexes in the school, as girls line up for a "test kiss" with him.

This movie is a little loose at times, but also has its sparks of inspiration. Generally, it treads down the path of predictability, particularly the up-lifting finale, but that doesn't stop anyone from having a good time, and a few drops of tears for the tender-hearted. The children are marvelous and the cast of veteran adult British actors provide solid support.
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Charming if uneven film that is creative and funny at times but poorly structured at others
bob the moo15 April 2008
Will is a creative but ultimately repressed and shy boy whose family are very religious, shunning television and other temptations of the modern world. It is during one of his regular exclusions from class (as they watch a video) that he meets bully Lee Carter, who has been put out of his class for other reasons. Lee gets both boys into trouble and, pretending to get Will off the hook, bullies the weaker boy into coming back to his house and help out with a home movie he is making for the BBC show Screen Test. The film is to be a version of First Blood, which Lee has pirated from the cinema. Seeing the film fires Lee's imagination and he takes no convincing to become Lee's stuntman and lead actor, with the two continuing their strange relationship during the making of it.

Although I understand why, I would almost prefer if I hadn't seen Son of Rambow on every bus that I drove past for the last few weeks and had come to it as a small British film that is "quite good" rather than having a lot of hype and praise lavished onto it. The reason for this is because the film is not brilliant but is actually rather good. It is hard to fault its creativity and the way it brings out the good feeling of children, in a simpler time, letting their imagination run while also trying to deal with the world that is bigger than them and in this regard Son of Rambow does really well. The concept is imaginative and many scenes are a delight as they mix real action with animation, reality with flights of fancy and so on and it is good enough that it is a shame that it doesn't really come together.

The problem comes with the story as this does feel rather disjointed and uneven and it takes away more than it gives. Again, in the sweep it works and I liked the theme of the outsiders, of Will's growth, of superficially strong or popular people being just as insecure than obviously so. However these things are moments and what the film fails to do is convincingly connect it across the running time. So what we tend to get given are fragmented moments of humour, pathos, creativity and so on but with very weak bridging and consistency in between. It is a shame because the moments are strong enough to make me enjoy the film and be frustrated at its unevenness. Fortunately it ends on a good note and left me with a warm feeling – but it was still a rocky road to get there.

You will hear it praised to the rafters of course, mainly by viewers who are overjoyed that a British film is made that people want to see and isn't rubbish but, for all its weaknesses the one area the praise is very deserved is in the two main actors. With no tangible experience between them both Milner (Will) and Poulter (Lee) are natural and engaging. OK so Poulter has to be a bully for most of it but this is to his credit that he is able to be this way while also keeping the audience by wearing it like a front. Milner is effective as he does gradually come out of his shell during the film and be a difficult and flawed character himself at one point. Sitruk's Didier is not as good, mainly because he is a visual joke rather than a character and I thought him and his character were a weakness in regards delivering the character-driven story. For all his weaknesses, Jennings cannot be faulted on creativity and he nails childhood imagination throughout.

Son of Rambow produces plenty of wonderful moments as it works with its central concept and it will leave you with a warm feeling inside. Sadly though, it is not a great film and it is a shame that it could not harness its strengths in a more effective and pleasing way because for all its good bits, it just doesn't flow together in a way that is as satisfying or as engaging as it could.
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An educational joy to watch
Mr-Mingz8 April 2008
I thought this film was simply easy to watch and was entertaining in the form of an 80s schoolboy dream.

I found it astonishing, how two very young actors, Will Poulter and Bill Milner can make the film what it is today, an utter joy to watch. Both of these boys are fantastic actors and prove their skill in this production of heart-filled drama and mild humour.

I found it a shame that Jessica Hynes (Nee Stevenson) was her usual funny self but nevertheless she brought her motherly role to life. This film was certainly educational and it was interesting how Garth Jennings gives us a lesson in school-life in the 80s.

This film certainly goes in my good books.
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Disappointing. Not bad, not great.
rocketmark26 April 2008
I saw this movie as part of a film class. I had seen previews and was very excited to learn we were going to see this movie in class. Unfortunately like so many films, the best scenes were in the previews. You feel like the movie was supposed to be an uplifting comedy but it had some very dark undertones which in many ways negated the comedic aspects. Certain aspects of the film had an almost British Wes Anderson feel (exchange students bit namely) which was kind of cool. Movie didn't really know exactly what it wanted to be either in my opinion. It was a little too disjointed. I felt like the movie COULD HAVE been very good but it just didn't get there. Not a bad movie but I wouldn't rush to see it. The movie really could have been well done as a 10-15 minute short.
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probably one of the best film's of the year.
Kieran Green8 April 2008
Son of Rambow is without a doubt probably one of the best film's of the year. this enjoyable film will sure to please film-goers of all ages. as one would expect in the world of Hollywood 'Son of ram bow' is not a follow up to Sylvester Stallone's ailing 'rambo franchise but about two boys from very different social backgrounds who together decide to mount their own 'rambo' production which is chock full of comedic moments, the film is superb as it truly represents childhood awe and wonder, the film is authentic in it's setting of 1983 england the costumes and production design are accurately true to the age it's wonderful to see all of those hideous 80's outfits. the film's cinematography is excellent in it's lensing of 2:35:1 widescreen which certainly lends this film an air of brilliance.
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Gondry meets Grange Hill
jonathon-smith28 October 2007
A very sweet film that is a refreshing alternative to the Richard Curtis version of English lovable comedy. The young leads do a remarkable job considering it's their first ever film they deliver the laughs. They use language which is probably like Chaucer to their 21st Century ears (I was once dropped to substitute for writing 'is skill' after my name on the football team sheet posted on the wall).

It's a bit flawed of course. I don't recognise the 'Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit' type family but I do remember a kid at school who's family wouldn't let him watch TV, so I'll give them that. The 'away from home mother' seemed a bit convenient also, and the 6th Form kids were all dressed like they were appearing on Top of the Pops and then moving on to The Wag. I wasn't like that.

All in all though, tons of fun. The French exchange student is a work of genius, there's a wonderful cameo from Eric Sykes and I'm sure there's an homage to Wes Anderson's Barclaycard commercial in there. I hope so, because it deserves one. Enjoy.
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PipAndSqueak22 April 2008
On a wet Sunday afternoon you could do well watching this very sweet depiction of boy fantasy made real. Will Poulter and Bill Milner are well cast and provide the perfect foil for each other. They are completely believable. The relative neglect of the two boys is very nicely nuanced, there is never any hint that the boys in any way find fault with their parents yet it is their parents who are responsible for the trouble they encounter in daily life. The cameo by Eric Sykes is at first quite maudlin but then becomes quaint. It has the same feel as the UK TV sitcom Gavin and Stacy. Affectionate, realistic and accepting. Come out of the cinema and say, Ahhhh!
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Son of Rambow
Jackson Booth-Millard6 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I had heard some good things about this film some time after its initial release, on a TV countdown or something, and apparently that it was a surprise hit, so I was very interested in seeing it, from director Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). Basically, set in 1982, shy and quiet schoolboy Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) with a family that attend the Plymouth Brethren religious sect, which he is forbidden to watch television or films, including during school lessons. One day in the corridor he meets badly behaved troublesome Lee Carter (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader's Will Poulter), and after both accidentally causing a fish bowl to fall and break Lee volunteers to take the blame, and he pretends that there is torture involved in his punishment. To make up for it Will allows him to take his watch, which belonged to his dead father, and saying that he still owes him for taking the blame Lee wants Will's help to finish the film he is making, inspired by the recently released First Blood at the cinema. Lee is making a film to be entered for the Screen Test Young Film-Makers' Competition, and he is using the home video equipment that belongs to his older brother Lawrence (Ed Westwick) who bullies him, and with this camera he secretly filmed First Blood and makes pirate copies. Will accepts helping make the film doing the stunt work he needs, as he saw the film First Blood himself and can't get it out of his head, he is very enthusiastic about being his own action hero, doing some slightly dangerous stunts. As time goes by what started as nervous tension turns into friendship for the two boys, they even make the pledge to become "blood brothers", but of course Will has to keep his friendship a secret as Lee is said to be a bad influence. New French exchange student Didier Revol (Jules Sitruk) arrives and quickly becomes very popular amongst the curious school boys, and when some of the others find out about this film project he in particular is keen to be part of it, Will says he can join, but Lee feels he is no longer in control and quits. There is some filming done without him, but he does come back when Will is trapped under some unstable structures that collapse at the abandoned power station, even though he was only coming to get the camera back. Lee ends up getting injured himself and forced to go to hospital, and when Lawrence visits him he is angry that he has been using the camera, and that it is broken, and even though Will's mother Mary (Jessica Hynes/Stevenson) isn't happy, she does allow him to be himself and even leaves the Brethren. Lawrence has a look for himself at the footage that has been filmed, and he is impressed, and with Will's help he makes his own participation in the film, a message to his brother. Lee leaves the hospital, and as a surprise he is taken to the cinema, and before the main film Yentl their completed film is Shown, Son of Rambow, at first the audience are tittering, but as they settle into it they love it, and it ends with applause and Lee and Will are reunited. Also starring Neil Dudgeon as Joshua, Eric Sykes as Frank, EastEnders' Anna Wing as Grandma and Sam Kubrick-Finney, Stanley Kubrick's grandson as Danny. Newcomer Milner gives an adorable performance as the quiet and then brightened up boy, and Poulter is also really good as the misbehaving and bully like for a while but slowly changed for the better friend, together they make a great duo. It is a good fun story about two boys making their own film based on the popular Sylvester Stallone hero, the friendship is believable, and the actual filmmaking process makes for some good giggles, and the subplots with the two boys and their home lives makes for realistically dramatic moments, this will appeal to the younger and older audience members, a fun to watch comedy drama. It was nominated the BAFTA for the Carl Foreman Award for the Most Promising Newcomer for Jennings (writer). Very good!
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Wasn't The Best
Mr_Sensitive18 October 2010
After I saw a trailer along with some really good reviews from so many places I decided that this is a definitely a movie to watch. It looks raw and seems like a really good independent movie that I always enjoy plus I always enjoy English humor. But after having seen it for myself I somehow find it pretty bland and pointless. It wasn't bad film but it wasn't good either.

Synopsis: A story about two school boys with two different backgrounds joint together to make the home movie (where they were inspired from the movie First Blood) for the competition, along the way they met many obstacles that challenge their friendship.

It took quite a long while before you will understand where the film is heading to, there are quite a few good moment in the film but the lack of substance in the story making this movie so empty and thus not really hold the interest well. It wasn't like it was predictable story but the flow of the film was pretty uneven and the character wasn't really standout (this might actually clash with other people idea, I believe).

I believe the best of the film was the casting of the two main characters Will and Carter, and the kid did a good job portraying their character. Other actors also did pretty alright with their role specially the French kid, though I still not really see main purpose of his existence despite the fact he is one of the few main character and the one who cause the rift between Will and Carter and other student with his Mr. Popular status. His character hasn't done anything much. I also feel that Will imagination hasn't been express to the fullest in the film.

Otherwise I thought everything was pretty alright, the film do consist of blend in score (though sometime feel really strange), nice location, good dialogue, neat wardrobe and so on. Not much has been emphasize that the film took place in the '80 but just the few accessories, few words and wardrobe of the French kid that dress like Boy George and Cyndi Lauper combine and that seem like the trendiest thing then.

All in all, I can't really fully recommend this movie to anyone – first if you're not into this type of movie you will surely bored and - second if you do actually like to watch independence film this still is not really that good, cause this isn't much of story driven.

All I can recommend was if you still want to watch it catch it on free cable or rent it from DVD store.

Reason to Watch: Will and Carter are lovable character.

Reason to Watch: Not really hold interest.

Rating: 5/10 (Grade: D+)

PS: They do explain why the film spell Rambow with "W" inside the film at the end of the credit.
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Rolls, Lightening
tedg18 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Gosh, another movie that is well conceived and poorly executed, this time built around what I call folding. Storywise, it is between "Be Kind, Rewind," and "Is There?" which features the same boy actor, the same setting of an English privately run old folks' home in 80's England and the same parental issues.

Here the main fold is a movie about a kid making a movie that is based on another movie. The following is true of both the movie we see and the movie we see being made: the result is bad, but we are told that it is endearing so we are supposed to let the poor film-making pass.

The extra origami is planned to come from folding this into two other "performances." One is the roles invented and played by schoolchildren to convince themselves and each other that they matter. This comes from the bully role of the buddy who starts the movie, a situation of a preening "cool" French kid who is visiting, and what appears to be a severely cut series of episodes involving older kids and their comparatively comic roles and costumes.

The other is the notion of prescribed roles that must be played by parents, here prescribed by religious rules.

The folds as written are combined clumsily. The map to religion we "see" by visions of an imagined story that becomes the movie within, but presented as drawings superimposed on the pages of a Bible. To map to the schoolyard bits, we have similar drawings on the walls of the school. Its a bit literal, but it gets worse: when the inner movie takes off is when the role played by the French kid and his posse map into the roles in the Rambo film, the merger literally happened in a church, with some obviously deliberate staging.

And there is even a focus on watching and watches, and not one but two demented elderly watchers.

Get it? Jees. So much for the writing, but you have to give the writer-director credit for also working on folding these elements in the cinematic sense. There are transitions between "real life" and the various inner roles and stories. Unfortunately, this visual overlapping is done with two distinctly different kinds of animation, neither of which match the various forms of drawings from the boy through whose eyes we see all this.

If I had an annotation tool that pointed to scenes, I could show how all this tries to work and could have with a bit more visual coherence.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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